Internet scam leads to Puna arrest, police seek victims

Anthony Derick Berson of Keaau
Anthony Derick Berson of Keaau

PUNA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island police have arrested a 19-year-old Puna man in connection with an internet scam and are looking for additional victims.

Four victims on the mainland reported that they responded to a posting on Craigslist by someone claiming to be selling tickets to the sold-out Coachella Music Festival being held this weekend in Indio, California.

The supposed seller arranged for the victims to wire him money and said he would send them festival passes and wrist bands by Federal Express. The victims sent the money but never received the passes or armbands.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section collaborated on a joint operation with the Office of Consumer Protection in the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

As part of the joint sting operation, an investigator from the Office of Consumer Protection posed as a buyer who wanted three sets of passes and wrist bands. He and the seller agreed on a control number and password for the seller to use when claiming the money.

When Anthony Derick Berson of Keaau went to a Western Union office in Hilo on Tuesday (April 17) using the agreed-upon control number and password to claim $900, police detectives arrested him on suspicion of attempted theft and use of a computer in the commission of a separate crime.

Berson is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continue the investigation.

Police ask that any other victims of this alleged fraud contact Detective Derek Morimoto by phone at 961-2380 or by email at

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