WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A south Kansas man was charged Wednesday with mail fraud, money laundering and tax fraud after authorities allege he created dozens of false identities as part of a scheme to buy discounted DVD and Blu-ray movies and resell them.
A wide-ranging federal indictment accuses 45-year-old Harvey C. Self of Derby of using the bogus identities to join the Disney Movie Club and Columbia House DVD Club, then reselling the movies on eBay and Amazon. Postal inspectors identified 28 different mailing addresses used in the scheme at post offices or commercial carrier boxes in 15 south-central Kansas communities, according to the indictment.
Self told The Associated Press Wednesday that he was just trying to supplement his income so he could support his eight children, who range in age from 1 to 17 years.
“I bought the movies online for the price they were being sold for, and I sold them for the price that people wanted to pay for them - and they are calling that fraud,” he said.
On May 15, 2013, armed federal agents came to his house while he was at work and seized some of his possessions, Self said.
Investigators seized 2,933 DVDs and Blu-ray discs from his home and vehicle, according to the indictment.
The indictment also alleges Self transferred more than $166,000 from his PayPal accounts set up to process the sales. The money laundering charges stem from an alleged transfer of funds into accounts involving the proceeds of mail fraud. The tax charges allege Self overreported business deductions and underreported income in his 2011 and 2012 tax returns.
Self declined to address the specific allegations in the indictment but insisted he did nothing wrong.
“I was raising money to support my kids by buying DVDs in bulk and then selling them individually - that’s what I did,” he said.
Attorney Jim Pratt declined comment, saying he no longer represents Self. His new attorney, William Campbell of Oklahoma City, did not immediately return a phone message left at his office.
“It has been a nightmare,” Self said.
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