Help support TMP

"Money laundering on auction sites?" Topic

20 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please be courteous toward your fellow TMP members.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Consumer Affairs Message Board

Back to the Hobby Industry Message Board

Action Log

11 Oct 2021 6:13 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Talk board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

Modular Buildings from ESLO

ESLO Terrain explains about their range of modular buildings.

Featured Workbench Article

Christmas Figures from Amazon Miniatures

These are not the seasonal figures that you might give your mother to put on the shelf!

Featured Profile Article

Current Poll

926 hits since 11 Oct 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 5:03 a.m. PST

OK, so without naming the obvious one, I have noticed something rather odd about this.

If you search 'Completed Items' by Japanese kit manufacturer name, filtered to 'Toy Model Kits' (i.e. the stuff we buy) and rank the results by Highest Price, you often find some very weird outcomes.

For example, on 19 September someone paid £1,412.92 GBP for a Tamiya 1/48 Beaufighter. You can get that kit direct from Japan for less than £16.00 GBP

That's not the only example. The Tamiya 1/48 Panzer Grenadiers and the 1/35 Sherman all went for same price. You can get the former for just over £5.00 GBP

Now and then you see a listing which is obviously erroneous because someone's fat-fingered the decimal place. That could be how a kit worth about £15.00 GBP gets listed for 100 times too much – but not how it and others actually then sell.

When you click on the Beaufighter listing you find there were actually two sold – but the BIN price stated is a much more reasonable £24.00 GBP IHNI where the £1,412.92 GBP is coming from.

I'd sat this was money laundering but it just looks too penny ante. Or is it some sort of fraud? – does someone sell their kit to themselves, insure it and then (over)claim on the insurance, or what? Or is this just some weird quirk of that auction site?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 5:20 a.m. PST

It's more fun to assume something is rotten.

Mr Elmo11 Oct 2021 6:42 a.m. PST

Seems like some petty money laundering if the amount was 1,500.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:02 a.m. PST

I wish I had money to launder. How would I get some?

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:05 a.m. PST

Always set money on "wash and Wear" cycle. And line dry.

jdpintex11 Oct 2021 7:14 a.m. PST

The number may be penny ante, but that could be made up in the volume of transactions, if someone didn't mind the time and effort to manage them.

Let Scotland Yard know of your finding. If someone comes around, then we'll know if this is something nefarious or not.

Just hope its the good guys who come around first. :)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:16 a.m. PST

Big Red, the trick is to engage in unlawful activities which actually make serious money. My father used to say that poverty didn't actually lead to crime so much as that most criminal activities just don't pay very well.

When he was young, you could support a whole gang with molls robbing banks. Today, you couldn't even pay your rent.

In this case, I'd be thinking petty criminality, but it's also possible someone's found a way to automate the process. A thousand such transactions would be decent money laundering and still not make a blip in ebay's weekly totals. Abundant cash transactions are the traditional means--which is why mobs like to own casinos and laundromats--but burying your shady transactions in a million honest ones might be the modern way.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:22 a.m. PST

I doubt it's money laundering. Items on Ebay often sell far above retail (I've seen books I sell for $30 USD new go for as much as $75 USD). Auctions are often as much about "winning" as anything.

The fraud claims might be but you could only do that once or twice before postal authorities catch on.

If you wanted to launder money you'd be better off with something with a less obvious retail value, like antique tea strainers, or comic books.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:24 a.m. PST

Well that's what I was thinking. You do 10,000 of those a week and you're cleaning 15 million quid or 20 million dollars.

Or they could just be fraud. You sell something to yourself for £1,500.00 GBP, ship it insured, say it never arrived, then claim £1,500.00 GBP off the insurance. Rinse and repeat until your account is blocked then open a new one.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 8:06 a.m. PST

It done all the time on very expensive comic books and sports cards.

emckinney11 Oct 2021 8:44 a.m. PST

I had a credit card number stolen and used to buy a supposed Black Lotus card (Magic: The Gathering) on eBay. Fortunately, they reversed the charge. I don't think the transaction went through on eBay, either.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2021 8:55 a.m. PST

Hanlon's razor – "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 9:55 a.m. PST

@ Wackmole9

That's perhaps why it works. Some collectory stuff is worth silly money, so if you need to prove that your "missing" article was worth £1,500.00 GBP rather than £15.00 GBP you just claim it was some rare collectory thing.

With an adequate supply of addresses and fake names, you could presumably scam a carrier's insurance many times before they worked out that this was all the same person.

MajorB11 Oct 2021 9:55 a.m. PST

A fool and his money are soon parted…

Britus11 Oct 2021 10:23 a.m. PST

Another fool about to be departed of his money
Plainest painted figure ever, or is this laundering!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

EC, never, EVER involve USPS insurance in a fraud. It's not that they can't be deceived, but that they don't pay--or at least not on any human time scale. Regularly, USPS tries to sell me insurance on a package, and I tell them that I'd have to leave any claim to my toddler grandchildren. They say they hear something like that regularly.

No good insuring a $10 USD model for $1,000 USD and claiming to have lost it if the insurer never writes a check.

Zephyr111 Oct 2021 2:30 p.m. PST

"…and still not make a blip in ebay's weekly totals."

eBay: "As long as we get our cut, nothing to see here, move along, if you please…"


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 2:33 p.m. PST

Well the story goes 7 "Gentlemen" each own a copy of Detective #27(1st Batman) and together they own a 8th copy. Every so offend they sell a copy for $1,000,000 USD more then the last time to a unknown buyer( one of the group) then the others take out loan on the increase in the value of their copy.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 2:36 p.m. PST

The new scam is Brackburn bought CGC (comic grading Company) and Now sell stock for high grade copies of highly collectable issues. They keep the comics in a sealed vault, SO It a unregulated stock market.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 3:54 p.m. PST

@robert piepenbrink, that made me chuckle as I filed a USPS insurance claim last week and had a check in my mailbox within a week. I was stunned.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.