PA: Man pleads guilty in mystery shopper scam

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Pittsburgh man pleads guilty in Nigerian 'mystery shopper' fraud scheme​


By Jeff Oravitz
March 3, 2021

Acting U. S. Attorney Western District of Pennsylvania Stephen Kaufman, this week, announced that a Pittsburgh man is facing up to 20 years in prison for is part in a scheme to defraud people.

In a release, Kaufman's office says 45-year-old Robert Jackson pleaded guilty in federal court to a count of fraud conspiracy.

From June 2013 to October 2013, Jackson took part in a Nigerian "mystery shopper" fraud scheme that lead people to believe that they were being paid to use and review products and services.

The victims were sent counterfeit United States Postal Service money orders and checks with instructions to deposit them in their bank, keeping a portion and sending the rest to another person that they believed was also a mystery shopper. It wasn't, however. The other person was a co-conspirator in the scheme. When banks discovered the money orders and checks were counterfeit, the victims were charged for the money deposited into their accounts long with additional fees.

Jackson received bulk shipments of counterfeit USPS money orders from overseas totaling more than $1.7 million as well as counterfeit checks. He was also given names and address of people to whom he was to send payment and "mystery shopper" instructions. The victims were instructed to send a portion of the funds to Jackson, his wife and others in on the scheme.

Jackson would then send a portion of the money collected to co-conspirators in Nigeria and keep a portion for himself.

Victim losses as a result of the scheme added up to more than $28,000.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for July 14, 2021. Jackson faces a max of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
 
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