I-Team 10 Investigation: Shipping company accused of fraud

Posted at: 10/01/2013 4:57 PM
Updated at: 10/01/2013 5:55 PM

When you buy items from online auctions sites, do you know what you're really getting? You might ask yourself that question after you read this I-Team 10 story.

Two Rochester-area men, who operate a shipping company, were arraigned in federal court Tuesday accused of selling items on eBay that they were hired to transport.  But that's not all they are accused of doing.  Investigators found jet engine oil, leather bound Batman books and donation cards from charity organizations in a warehouse run by the two men.

Brothers Igor and Arkadiy Kasap are now charged with wire and mail fraud as well as obstruction of the mail. They run a shipping company that has operated under the names ASAP Trans and First Global Express, with a warehouse on Trolley Road in Gates.

According to a FBI affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, investigators discovered that someone was selling Mobil jet engine oil on eBay. The sale advertised 40 cases at a price of $12,000. They say they traced it back to the Kasaps and their warehouse. The FBI says ASAP was hired to ship the same product for Exxon Mobil. Investigators say while in the warehouse, they also recovered 162 leather bound copies of "The Batman Files" books valued at $100 a piece. They were also being sold on eBay. 

So how do you know who you can trust when buying online auction items. Peggy Penders, of the Better Business Bureau, says it comes back to the consumer.

Peggy Penders said, "They've got to look into the background of that seller. They may not know whether this is legit item or not. But you have to understand your own accountability. Do you want to buy from someone where you don't know where the item came from?”

Penders says contact the seller and ask lots of questions.

Authorities say they also discovered several pallets of U.S. Mail which contained thousands of pieces of mail from the American Diabetes Association, destined for the southeastern United States. In each envelope originally was nickel, an incentive included in the letters to get people to donate. Authorites say about 2,800 pieces of American Diabetes Association mail had been opened and the nickel removed. 

I-Team 10 spoke with the attorney for one of the men by phone. He says that the Kasaps transport a lot of items, which move from warehouse to warehouse and that in many situations, those items are never claimed, so they consider them abandoned. The two men did plead not guilty in federal court Tuesday morning.