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Police say N.Y. man to plead guilty to defrauding Amherst man to obtain iPads

BRENTWOOD — A New York man used the “bill me later” option to order a pair of Apple iPad Air tablets online as part of a ruse that almost passed the $929 tab to an unsuspecting Amherst man, according to prosecutors.

Kofi Dei Baning, 35, will plead guilty Oct. 6 to attempted theft by deception and identity fraud, police said. Salem police allegedly caught him with a fake identification Feb. 7 at a FedEx store.

Baning was attempting to pick up the tablets he ordered online by using a fraudulent Massachusetts driver’s license with the victim’s name, according to a police affidavit by Officer Michael McCarthy. Baning is expected to serve 3 to 6 years in state prison as part of a negotiated plea deal with county prosecutors.

Police were only alerted to the alleged fraud because of a phone call from the victim.

The victim’s wife received an automated call from FedEx advising that their packages were ready to be picked up at the FedEx office in Salem, police said.

“Knowing that he had not ordered anything, (the victim) contacted FedEx to inquire about the shipment,” McCarthy said in a sworn affidavit.

He then called police to tell him what he learned. Two Apple iPad Air tablets were ordered in his name through a company called Ingram Micro, according to McCarthy.

Police responded to the FedEx office before Baning had arrived, and asked the store manager to call them if anyone came looking for the iPads.

Moments after police left the FedEx office, Baning arrived and showed the store manager a fraudulent Massachusetts driver’s license with the victim’s name along with his tracking order numbers, police said.

Baning admitted to the fraud, “indicating that the order had been placed by an unknown male in his native country of Ghana,” McCarthy said in the affidavit.

Baning will enter his plea on Oct. 6 in Rockingham County Superior Court and be sentenced. He could have faced up to 7½ to 15 years in prison had he been convicted at trial.

jkimble@newstote.com


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