Did a Vermont employee attempt to buy a guitar off of eBay with taxpayer money? A police investigation will determine if the check a Michigan eBay vendor received as payment for his auctioned guitar was fraudulent.
Two weeks ago, according to the eBay guitar seller, Ron Ratledge, a Vermont employee contacted him and asked him if he would accept a check as payment for the guitar. “She said that she had some retirement money and she asked if I’d take a check,” Ratledge told WCAX News, “She says she pays for items this way all the time.” The Vermont woman’s eBay account showed that she has been an active eBay user since 1999. Ron agreed to accept a check as payment.
The Vermont employee offered to pay $6000 plus shipping for the guitar. The check she sent, however, was cut from a State of Vermont bank account.
“That was my main concern, is the check good? And she said, of course, the check is good,” Ron told WCAX News reporter, “You could just hear her breathing picked up. She became really nervous and said, ‘Just forget it. Just send it back at this point. I really don’t want to do this. Send it back.'” Ron suspected she was illegally using the Vermont check at this point.
He discovered the employee worked for the Office of Risk Management which handles more than 400 liability claims against the state each year. The Michigan man reported the situation to the authorities. According to WCAX News, the woman was the only liability claims adjuster in that office.
The Office of Risk Management in Vermont is the the adjuster for liability claims. They also develop and assess premiums that fund self insurance funds for the workers compensation and liability.
Col. Tom L’Esperance of the Vermont State Police said that no arrests have been made, but as of Wednesday, the woman is no longer working for Vermont. No fraud charges are filed at this time. Vermont auditor, Doug Hoffer, told WCAX News, “It’s not a fortune, but it doesn’t have to be a fortune to be a big deal,” he said said. “The problem is if people aren’t aware of and knowledgeable about or follow internal control, you leave yourself open to risk. That’s what they did.”
The check that the former Vermont employee mailed to Ron was turned in to the Michigan Police and he listed his guitar back up on eBay.