SF watch retailer convicted of grand theft

A San Francisco watch retailer was found guilty of seven counts of grand theft in connection with an internet fraud scheme, county prosecutors announced today.

Roger Kuo, 48, operated TheFinestWatches.com where he would offer high-end watches for sale on the internet, by phone and email that he did not have in inventory.

Kuo would take his customers money and never provide the watch.

Prosecutors said six different victims lost a total of $161,171.

“If you want to do business in San Francisco you can’t lie to your customers, no matter where they are,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “A successful e-commerce economy depends on consumer trust, and those that violate that trust will be held accountable.”

Kuo was found guilty of selling five different watches ranging in price from $16,100 to $34,775. Kuo also took a 3.02 carat diamond on consignment and sold it, keeping 100 percent of the proceeds rather than the 10 percent he agreed to.

Prosecutors said the case was initially reported through the district attorney’s consumer mediation unit.

Prosecutors said they combed through more than 50,000 pages of bank and sales records to find the victims and their money.

Victims who came to the six-week trial were from places as far away as Malaysia, France and Nigeria. Others came from Florida, Minnesota, New York City and Los Angeles.

Nine victims testified.

“This case was a paper chase, but the defendant’s crimes ultimately caught up with him,” Assistant District Attorney Daniel Amador said in a statement.

Kuo is scheduled to be sentenced May 17.

-Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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