LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A Las Vegas man was charged in federal court today with wire fraud for impersonating an intellectual property lawyer and threatening lawsuits against the owners of Internet domain names.
David Dominic Scali, 28, agreed to plead guilty to the wire fraud charge in a plea agreement also filed today in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Scali is charged with registering an e-mail account under an alias and then sending e-mails in which he claimed to be the intellectual property lawyer. In the e-mails, which were sent in late June and early July of 2006, Scali threatened to file $100,000 trademark infringement lawsuits against the owners of various Internet website names unless they gave up their domain name registrations within two days. In some of the e-mails, Scali, using the lawyer’s identity, also claimed to be affiliated with a New York law firm. The wire fraud count in the criminal information filed this morning concerns a victim who surrendered an Internet domain name very similar to www.citysearch.com.
In his plea agreement, Scali admitted that he intended to obtain these domain name registrations for his own personal financial gain.
Scali will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
The wire fraud charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence ranging from probation to six months in custody, but the sentencing judge will make the final decision as to what Scali’s sentence will receive.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Wesley L. Hsu
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
Release No. 07-110