Ballaroto secured probation

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Bordentown City man receives probation
By Danielle Camilli Staff writer
PhillyBurbs.com
pdated 10/15/2012 3:18:09 PM ET

MOUNT HOLLY — A Bordentown City man pleaded guilty Monday for his role in an elaborate Internet scheme that cost victims more than $30,000 in precious metals and rare coins.

Robert Boucher Jr., 45, of East Chestnut Street, was “duped” himself by the mastermind of the scam, whom he identified in court as a Malaysian man he never met and corresponded with only online.

Boucher admitted that he sold stolen property, coins and precious metals to local pawnshops and kept some of the proceeds, but that he sent most of the money to his unknown Internet friend.

Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert accepted Boucher’s plea to a disorderly-persons offense of receiving stolen property and sentenced him to three years of probation. Covert also ordered him to pay more than $840 a month during that time to pay off about $30,375 in restitution.

Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Perry and defense attorney JeromeBallarotto described the case as “unique,” with the defendant being a victim of the larger scheme he participated in.

“Clearly, he was taken advantage of by a third party,” Perry said. “But at some point, he should have questioned and realized something was not on the up and up here.”

Boucher said in court Monday that he “met” his accomplice on the Internet sometime in April 2011 and that the man told him “he was stuck in Malaysia” and could not conduct business on his own.

His customers instead would send Boucher the items, and he was to sell them and send the proceeds to the man in Malaysia, the attorneys said. For his efforts, Boucher told the judge he kept some of the proceeds as payment but “sent him most of the money.”
Boucher said he even sent the man his own money, including his rent, and corresponded with him in more than 100 emails.
“I believed what he said,” Boucher said. “After a while, I started to think something is not right.”

Even when he confirmed his suspicions that the items he was selling were stolen, he continued to work with the Internet scammer, Boucher admitted.
Now he is on the hook for the full restitution to the victims, money his attorney said he will pay back with the help of his family.

Covert acknowledged that Boucher “was duped in some respects.” She said the term of three years of probation would allow for more supervision over the restitution payments.
In the past, law enforcement officials have warned of Internet scams like the one Boucher was caught in, and of similar schemes in which people send money in hopes of getting a larger return once unknown recipients can improve their own circumstances and access their own money to send.

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