Can criminal charges be filed if items purchased on-line are not delivered?

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Can criminal charges be filed if items purchased on-line are not delivered?

I have this lady from SC who bought dresses from me and paid by money order ($165). She claims that she never received the dresses, so she is now threatening me by saying she is going to press charges and have a warrant signed on me for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. She will then have the warrant forwarded to my county sheriff’s department with an order to execute it. She also says that she is going to file an  internet fraud report with the FBI. Can she actually do all of this? And if it goes through, what kind of charges may I be facing?

Asked on April 8, 2011 under Criminal Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Can she contact the police and the FBI and tell them about what she believes was a criminal act? Yes--anyone may contact any law enforcement agency and complain about anything they like. They cannot make the law enforcement agencies take action, however, and the police and the like will only act if there appears to have been a crime. A crime involves criminal intention, not just negligence, an error, a contract dispute, etc. So arguably, if you never intended to send anyone the dresses and lied about selling them--so it was just a scam or a fraud--and there appears to be evidence of that, then the authorities may elect to take action. But without that criminal intent, there is no crime, though the woman may still be able to sue you for the return of her money, if you she can show that she never received the dresses.


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