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Woman charged in Internet puppy scam

August 30, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Harpers Ferry, W.Va., woman was charged Monday with obtaining money by false pretense after people complained to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department about a possible Internet scam involving the sale of puppies, court records said.

Wanda Jean Fontana, 27, of 87 Oak Hill Court, has been released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

The people who made the complaints said they had been trying to purchase puppies through the Internet from a person named Jean Fontana and that they would either talk to Fontana by telephone or contact her through e-mail to set up payments and pick-up dates for the dogs, Detective Victor Lupis said in a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

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After confirming the price for the dogs and other information, the people were told by Fontana that they would have to send a deposit to her post office box in Charles Town, Lupis said.

The victims paid a total of $4,110 for the puppies but none of them have received the animals, Lupis said.

Police have identified 17 victims in the case from across the country, including Morgantown, W.Va., California and New York, Lupis said. Two victims are from Maryland and two are from New Jersey, Lupis said.

Lupis alleged he searched Fontana's home June 26 and found a computer and a receipt book containing the names of several of the victims. Lupis said he found no evidence of any puppies at the house or any evidence indicating Fontana was a dog breeder, records state.

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