A 14-year-old Australian boy masterminded a $200,000 eBay scam and used the money to live a celebrity lifestyle. Now, his mother is suing four Australian banks for the alleged role they played in his scams.
The 14-year-old sold laptops, cell phones, and watches, and then failed to deliver the products to their purchasers. He used the stolen money to live extravagantly: he made $6,000 per day (mostly from selling these fake products on eBay) and went on designer shopping sprees, hired limousines to drive him around, rented penthouses that cost over $4,000 per night, and flew his friends across the country for weekend parties in the luxury apartments he rented.
In 2008, the teen was charged with 20 incidents of fraud and put in jail. His mother is now suing the banks for what she beleives to be the role that they played in the crime. When his mother realized what was going on, she says she warned the banks that her son was sourcing funds illegally. She claims that the banks ignored her repeated calls to stop allowing her son to open accounts and debit cards because of privacy laws.
And the eBay scammer isn't the only young thief in the news right now: another American teen was jailed this week after robbing a student at gunpoint on the USF campus in Florida. The 17-year-old, accompanied by two other men, stole around $100 worth of the victim's belongings. And last week, a 16-year-old boy in Wisconsin broke into a home and stole a car after being reported missing by his parents, and a 17-year-old was arrested for three counts of retail theft. The list of similar news stories goes on.
So, what's your take on this? Is teen theft (on a smaller scale than these examples) a common problem in every generation -- or do you think there are larger social, economic, or political factors that are coming into play here?
Sound off in the comments below.