Home San Francisco Press Releases 2009 Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Warranty Fraud
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Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Warranty Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 17, 2009
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN JOSE, CA—Thomas Kline pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of mail fraud, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

In pleading guilty, Kline admitted that, from January 2005 to January 2009, he devised and executed a scheme to defraud SonicWALL, Inc., which is a Sunnyvale, Calif., based company engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling hardware used to establish firewalls for computer networks.

Kline fraudulently registered serial numbers that were not assigned to any SonicWALL firewall devices then reported problems with these non-existent firewall devices, causing SonicWALL to ship him replacements pursuant to its warranty program. After SonicWALL shipped the “replacement” firewall devices to him, Kline sold them on the eBay website. As a result of his fraudulent scheme, SonicWALL shipped Kline 226 replacement firewall devices to which he was not entitled from its warehouse in Fremont, Calif., to his home in Mount Pleasant, Pa. 

Kline, 67 of Mount Pleasant, was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on June 24, 2009. He was charged with five counts of Mail Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1341. Under the plea agreement, Mr. Kline pled guilty to one count of Mail Fraud.

Kline has been released on $50,000 bail. The sentencing of Kline is scheduled for March 8, 2010 before Judge Ware in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 is 20 years and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Hanley Chew is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of  Lauri Gomez. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Further Information:
Case #: No. CR 07-00431 JF

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