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Ebay figurines seller disappears amid police, FBI probe of alleged fraud

Updated:

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) _ A ceramic figurines dealer has disappeared amid a police and FBI investigation of whether he defrauded at least 100 eBay auction buyers.

The customers say their purchases from a December online auction were never delivered by the seller, Stewart Richardson, 60, who disappeared Jan. 17, police said.

The Lladro's, Hummel and Wee Forest Folk ceramic figurines the customers bought were worth tens of thousands of dollars total. No charges have been filed.

Richardson left his White Lake business _ Retired Figurines Exchange _ after reportedly withdrawing more than $200,000, police said. His wife filed a missing persons report.

Ebay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said Richardson had built a good reputation at the auction service.

Marten Halma, 55, of Long Island, N.Y., paid $4,000 for four Wee Forest Folk figurines, and ``felt my heart sort of sink into my stomach'' when he learned of the alleged fraud.

``Because he had such a sterling record, I had no doubt he was on the up and up,'' Halma said, adding that his money was returned by his credit card company.
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