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Q: For Expertlaw-ga only! ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Question  
Subject: For Expertlaw-ga only!
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: missy-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 25 Jan 2006 16:45 PST
Expires: 24 Feb 2006 16:45 PST
Question ID: 437662
Dearest Colleague,

What is going on with the guy impersonating you over at AskEarth**? 
Have they given you any response yet?  Isn't what he's doing illegal? 
(Obviously, he's just plain rotten!)

**For those playing along at home: 
http://askearth.com/go/view_request?request=120139
Answer  
Subject: Re: For Expertlaw-ga only!
Answered By: expertlaw-ga on 26 Jan 2006 05:08 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Dear Missy,

Honestly, I don't know what's going on with him. There is a
possibility that the individual is a prankster, and is either trying
to play a joke on me or on Google Answers. There is a possibility that
the person is vindictive, and is trying to make problems for me or for
Google, or to cast a shadow over the crediblity of the Google Answers
project.

A third possibility is that the person is hoping to turn a quick
profit through an electronic equivalent of selling the Brooklyn Bridge
- albeit on a much smaller scale. If that is the case, although  he
doesn't own the account and he can't deliver the account, but he'll be
happy to take someone's money.

Due to the fact that criminal laws vary between states and nations, I
am somewhat limited in my ability to describe what laws may have been
violated, and thus am responding in more general terms. If this person
is intending to commit fraud then his actions are illegal. Although
the definition of criminal fraud will vary somewhat both domestically
an internationally, at its heart fraud consists of the false
representation of one or more material facts, where the
representations are false when made, the person making the
representation knows them to be false, and the person intends the
victim to rely upon the representation. Should somebody in fact
attempt to purchase the account and, as is inevitable, end up with
nothing, I am not aware of a jurisdiction where that could not be
prosecuted as a fraud-related offense or form of larceny.

Due to the electronic nature of the communication, in the U.S. it
would seem also to constitute wire fraud. 18 U.S.C.  1343. That
statute may be reviewed on Cornell Law School's Legal Information
Institute website:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001343----000-.html

Whatever his motive, although I question whether the law could be
constitutionally applied as written, his actions might be deemed to
run afoul of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice
Reauthorization Act of 2005, which makes illegal anonymous Internet
activity performed "with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass
another person". 47 U.S.C.  223(a)(1)(C). That statute may be
reviewed on Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute website:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sec_47_00000223----000-.html

The conduct could also trigger potential civil liability on such
theories as false personation, defamation, or fraud, although it would
be more clear which causes of action might be viable after a full
investigation of the facts, and would vary depending upon what state
or nation's laws were ultimately applied to the conduct.

The conduct also violates the AskEarth terms of service, "Member
Conduct" provisions. These can be found online at:
http://askearth.com/go/show?t=help_about

I have requested that AskEarth remove the false offer from their site
through their online form. To date they have not replied and the
thread remains in place. Thank you for posting your question as it
should put anybody who might be tricked by that thread on clear notice
that it is fraudulent in nature.


Research Strategy

* Browsing the AskEarth website for their terms of service,
http://askearth.com/

* Searching the United States Code, available online through Cornell
Law School's Legal Information Institute:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/


Thank you,

- expertlaw
missy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thank you!  As ever, you've done a fine job of explaining the little
legal bits that many people aren't aware of.

Folks coming from the ad at AskEarth to look at expertlaw-ga's
ratings:  The ad is a fraud.  Don't bid, don't buy - it's not going to
get you Google Answers Researcher status.

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