(Orange, Texas)

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August 24, 2013

Pair charged with wire, mail fraud in buying plot



Carson Cameron's court-appointed attorney, Don Meier, said his client is now holding down a job in the construction industry and isn't a danger to society.

"He has a place to live. He has a steady job," Meier said.

Calhoun did not object to bond being set for David Cameron.

The Camerons' scheme began in November 2007 and ran through August 2011, according to a criminal complaint filed by Cothran.

He said the plot worked like this:

One or both men would go into a Home Depot and switch the UPC on a higher-priced item with something at a lesser cost. The higher-priced item would be purchased at the lower cost and later sold on eBay for a profit.

In one instance, Cothran said, the men switched the price on a tankless water heater that normally sold for $749 at a Home Depot in Louisville. After buying the item for $200, the men sold it over eBay to a man in Texas for $565.

On another occasion, Cothran said, the men switched the UPC from two $189 recirculating pumps with the codes for a pair of $31 element kits and paid for the items with a credit card belonging to Carson Cameron. The sale left Home Depot with a $315 loss, Cothran wrote.

Investigators used databases to identify the two men's names and drivers' license photos and surveillance tapes to confirm their identities.

In September 2010, Secret Service agents set up a sting through eBay to purchase an item from Carson Cameron. Cothran said agents purchased an automatic gate opener that normally cost about $440 at Home Depot. Home Depot later confirmed that the item had been purchased for $144 because the UPC had been switched with another item.

Cothran said eBay closed the account used by the men in 2011.

Investigators later traced the Camerons to Texas, where they worked with at least three other people in selling stolen items on eBay, Cothran said. One of those people implicated the Camerons in a statement to investigators, leading to arrest warrants being issued. The Camerons had been working out of Unicoi, Tenn., until April 2011, when investigators raided the home they had been using.

After that, the men went to Wisconsin and eventually ended up in Indiana, where they were arrested Wednesday evening.

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