The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept., the FBI and the Internet auction company eBay are investigating suspected computer sales fraud by one or more UCSB students.
William Franceschine, a senior communication major at UCSB, put computers up for auction on eBay under the name “Gaucho Computers.” Winning bidders filed complaints with eBay that they did not receive their computers after winning the auction and paying Franceschine. Franceschine said he was unable to deliver computers because he was in jail on an unrelated charge.
“Ever since I was released from jail, I have been on the phone, on e-mails, doing nothing but trying to straighten everything out. If they don’t have their computers, I want to get them their money [back] as soon as possible,” he said.
In addition to the investigation conducted by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. and the FBI, UCSB will conduct an independent investigation into the matter, Associate Dean of Students Joe Navarro said. So far, UCSB has only limited information about the incident and must await further information from the sheriff’s department before it can proceed.
“We have to deal with the sheriff’s department, and they’re doing their thing and probably aren’t ready to share it with us yet,” Navarro said.
The findings of UCSB’s investigation of the fraud would be presented to the Student-Faculty Conduct Committee, Navarro said. If found guilty of fraud by the Student-Faculty Conduct Committee, the penalty could range “from a warning to a dismissal from the University,” Navarro said.
As of Tuesday night, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. could not be reached for comment.
Note: The Santa Barbara police did a brief investigation and concluded that Franceschine had broken no laws at any point and closed the case.