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EBay Bid of millions for records fake

Man whose screen name was with winning bid said he was a victim of identity theft.

PITTSBURGH — A winning bid of $3 million for a huge record collection offered by a Ross Township man through eBay has turned out to be fraudulent, a newspaper reported Saturday.

An agent for the sale, J. Paul Henderson, said he was notified by an eBay executive Friday night that the bid was not legitimate and that the bidder’s account had been suspended, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

An alleged buyer had won the online auction, claiming he would shell out $3,002,150 for the collection of nearly 3 million vinyl albums, singles and CDs.

But an Irish man whose screen name appeared with the winning bid said he was unaware of the bid until after it had been entered and that he had been a victim of identity theft.

“He claims he went to an Internet cafe and got the e-mail with the invoice from us and wondered, ‘What the hell is this?’ ” Henderson said.

The 68-year-old seller, Paul Mawhinney, said he began collecting the records when he opened his record shop, Record Rama, in Ross Township, in 1968. He closed the shop Thursday, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“I am legally blind,” he said. “I had a couple of strokes a few years ago ... and it’s time at my age to think about doing something else with my life.”

On Saturday, Mawhinney said he had already contacted six other bidders who had pledged more than $3 million in the eBay auction and three others who approached him independently.

“It’s still going to happen,” he told The Associated Press.

Karen Bard, a spokeswoman for the online auctioneer, said earlier that the price tag was one of the highest recorded by eBay Inc. A Gulfstream II jet once sold for $4.9 million, she said.

In an e-mail message Saturday, she said eBay had policies to ensure safe buying and selling through the site and that “buyers should always realize that when they bid on an item on eBay it is a legally binding contract.”

The collection includes more than 1 million albums, 1.5 million singles and 300,000 CDs, Mawhinney said.

“I am legally blind. I had a couple of strokes a few years ago ... and it’s time at my age to think about doing something else with my life.”

Paul Mawhinney
Owner of nearly 3 million vinyl albums, singles and CDs
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