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A 20-year-old man from Toledo, Ohio, has been indicted for allegedly scamming $66,525 from eBayers who thought they were bidding for electronic equipment, the Toledo Blade reports.

Nicholas A. Knowles offered kit including laptops, plasma TVs and PlayStations, attracting winning bids of between $100 to $350. Knowles reportedly pocketed the cash from more than 200 buyers between January and December 2002.

The fraud was exposed when eBay forwarded details of the bogus auctions to the authorites. The latter wrote to the alleged victims, of whom 200 responded confirming that they had paid Knowles a total of $66,525 by cheque, credit card or via online payment systems.

Knowles has been indicted on one count of telecommunications fraud. A date for his arraignment has not yet been set.

In related news, police in Cape Coral, Florida, this week cuffed three teenagers who attempted to offload three stolen kayaks on eBay.

The arrests came after owner Steve Catron spotted six of his kayaks - worth $5,721 - on the auction site. The goods had been lifted from his Catron's Backwater Outfitters premises.

An undercover detective met two of the sellers at a Circle K convenience store and handed over $700 in cash for two of the kayaks. The police then moved in and apprehended the suspects. ®

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