Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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November 25, 2007

JPD expects more serious charges in fraud case

By Kelly Young

news@jacksonvilleprogress.com

Detectives with the Jacksonville Police Department have begun a new investigation into the online dealings of Eual Brent Hallford, the Jacksonville man accused of defrauding numerous customers across the country with his sports memorabilia Web site, www.tradingcardcollectibles.com.

Last week Hallford was arrested and charged with three counts of credit card abuse and two counts of debit card abuse — both state jail felonies — but JPD is now looking further into the suspect’s business dealings to determine whether Internet fraud charges should also be filed.

“Right now we are investigating Hallford for charges more serious than state jail felony, and I anticipate that those charges will be filed. He was using the Internet to make his sales, so we are now looking at whether Internet fraud charges should be made in the case,” said Detective Daniel Franklin of JPD. “Because he was going outside the state of Texas with his sales, he could also be brought up on federal charges for going inter-state. The U.S. Postal Service is also involved in the investigation because some of the merchandise that was shipped was done by mail.”

Franklin said that while the official investigation into Hallford’s activities didn’t begin until Sept. 10 of this year, the department had been receiving information regarding him for more than a decade.

On numerous occasions, prior investigations into Hallford’s business practices were called off when disgruntled customers would receive the money or merchandise they had been waiting for, and would refuse to press charges.

Franklin said Hallford’s arrest was made possible because of information received by the Better Business Bureau of Tyler.

“We got a call from the Better Business Bureau, and they told us that they had had a few victims come forward with claims against him for bad business. I told them to bring whatever information that had to us, and they brought in just as huge box of claims from people who have contacted the Better Business Bureau regarding him,” he said.

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