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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Internet Scammer Sent to the Slammer

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - After 12 years on the lam, a 73-year-old Californian was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $12.8 million in restitution for an Internet scam.

James Eberhart, formerly of Newport Beach, was nabbed in Malaysia in 2012 after more than 12 years as a fugitive. He pleaded guilty in September to two counts of mail fraud.

Eberhart and his co-defendant Eugene M. Carriere defrauded people in a boiler room telemarketing scam that claimed their YES Entertainment Network was creating an 18-channel, multimedia, family-oriented website.

They put only 1 percent of the money they raised into the website, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Forty-five percent of it was kicked back to the telemarketers, and Eberhart sent most of the rest of it to his own bank accounts in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Eberhart, Carriere and another employee hoofed it in 1999 after the FBI raided affiliated telemarketing companies, prosecutors said.

Carriere and five other telemarketers pleaded guilty and were sentenced to as much as 11 years in prison.

Eberhart was living on a custom-built 58-foot yacht, which he entered in yacht races, when he was arrested in May 2012. He already had asked - at age 58 - that a Costa Rican family adopt him, thinking it would prevent him from being extradited to the United States.

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