Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


SEATTLE - Sept. 10, 2001 - Attorney General Christine Gregoire today continued her battle against fraud in cyberspace by accusing an Internet-based computer seller of using online auctions to dupe unsuspecting consumers.

In a lawsuit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, the Attorney General's High-Tech Unit claims Everett resident Hans Nelson used a variety of business names to sell computer equipment through online auctions, but that he didn't deliver the goods.

Nelson is no stranger to Internet-based fraud, state attorneys contend.

He was a manager of Aliendistribution, an Everett firm sued by the state in March for a number of violations of the state's Consumer Protection Act, including failing to deliver merchandise, misrepresenting its level of customer support and failing to make refunds.

That case is currently pending.

According to the lawsuit filed today, Nelson went off on his own shortly after Aliendistribution was sued and started offering computers and computer supplies for sale on online auction sites. He used a variety of user names, including "Theauctiongirls," "Reallygoodsoftware," "Powergadgets" and "Thatsoutrageous."

Each time the online auction service shut one user name down because of consumer complaints, attorneys say, Nelson simply changed user names and continued offering goods for auction.

"Online auctions continue to be fertile ground for fraud," said Attorney General Christine Gregoire. "This action is a clear signal that fraud and deception, in cyberspace or elsewhere, will not be tolerated."

Nelson has been the subject of more than 50 complaints to the online auction service and 12 to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.