WILMINGTON — A Durham man has been sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to repay more than $447,000 for using the mail to defraud book publishers.
From November 1996 to February, 2007, Leroy Singleton used approximately 53 fictitious names and 35 fictitious bookstore names to open accounts with multiple publishing companies by contacting the publishing companies and requesting a credit application be faxed to him, authorities said Tuesday.
After receiving the application, Singleton, 49, would complete and fax the credit application along with a book order using fictitious names and fictitious bookstore names.
Authorities said he knew from experience that publishing companies will ship some books on credit within 24 hours while a credit application is reviewed for approval.
Singleton would ask to have next-day delivery of books to various mailboxes and storage units, which he usually had opened using fictitious names, officials said.
After receiving the books, he would sell them, usually at flea markets, and use the money himself.
During the course of the scheme, publishing companies mailed $447,917 worth of books and other items to Singleton and he failed to pay.
He was charged with mail fraud on July 11 and pleaded guilty on Aug. 7.