Woman sentenced for Internet fraud


PORTLAND (AP) – A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced Friday to a year in prison and ordered to pay restitution for defrauding at least 84 victims through Internet scams.

Marilyn J. Gelegan approached losing bidders on eBay, lurked on bulletin boards and listed items for sale in hopes of getting people to send money orders for items that did not exist, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank.

Gelegan, 52, lived in Portland at the time of the crimes between 2001 and 2003, Frank said. She later moved to Lancaster, Pa.

Gelegan, who pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud, apologized to three victims who testified at her sentencing in Portland.

She focused on collectibles and figurines and targeted bidders eBay and other collectors, Frank said. Her victims were required to pay with money orders but Gelegan rarely sent an item in return; when she did, it was not the advertised item, Frank said. Gelegan used a number of different e-mail accounts, he said.

U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal sentenced her to two years of probation, in addition to ordering her to serve 366 days in prison sentence and to pay $17,055 in restitution to the victims of her scheme, Frank said.

Gelegan said she was having money problems. Her attorney, Peter Cyr of Portland, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.