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Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay by Kenneth…
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Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay (edition 2006)

by Kenneth Walton (Author)

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493415,823 (3.58)2
It was the golden age of eBay. Optimistic bidders went online to the world's largest flea market, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles. Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces of art at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con artist unable to resist the temptation of abusing a system that prided itself on being "based on trust." Walton--once a lawyer bound by the ethics of his profession--was seduced by just such a con artist and, eventually, became one himself. What started out as a satisfying exercise in reselling thrift store paintings in order to pay back student loans and mounting credit card debt soon became an addiction to the subtle deception of luring unsuspecting bidders into overpaying for paintings of questionable origins.--From publisher description.… (more)
Member:top19
Title:Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay
Authors:Kenneth Walton (Author)
Info:Simon Spotlight Entertainment (2006), Edition: 1St Edition, 304 pages
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Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay by Kenneth Walton

  1. 00
    The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean (stephmo)
    stephmo: You'll find a similar story of finding a way to exploit the obsessive collecting nature of a small group of enthusiasts.
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Aieee. Creeps ripping off honest folks on eBay. Also creeps making excuses for bad behaviour and rationalizing stealing. Thoroughly despicable author goes from lawyer to cheat to forger. One wonders what sort of a person then writes it all up, almost proudly, and publishes it. After this book, I needed a shower. With steel wool to get the really sticky nasty bits off. Walton is a decent writer, it's the sordid details that got me down. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Kenneth Walton's memoir brings more than the story of a simple crime - it's the story of the early days of the internet, the story of the small decisions that separate right from wrong and the story of the infamous slippery slope that anyone can fall onto with the right shove.

In Walton's case, this shove comes from an old army buddy, Ken Fetterman. Fetterman is reminiscent of Susan Orlean's John Laroche from The Orchid Thief. Both men are frenetic, impatient, distrustful and have an intelligence for making money from unique markets. Fetterman introduces Walton to a new website - eBay - and teaches him how to sell artwork to bidders all over the country.

In working with Fetterman and a few others, Walton touches on the merely unethical (vague auction listings that deliberately imply famous authorship where none is warranted), to the unethical (shill bidding with multiple accounts), to the absolutely illegal (knowingly selling forged artwork). What could have been a dull dissertation on auction postings, e-mails and phone calls is instead a memoir that is crisply written that reads as well as any beach-read thriller.

There are points where the book philosophizes a bit much, and at times it is hard to swallow the, "of course, I only forged one signature ever" claim, but this is typical of most true crime memoirs written by the perpetrators. ( )
  stephmo | Jul 4, 2009 |
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It was the golden age of eBay. Optimistic bidders went online to the world's largest flea market, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles. Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces of art at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con artist unable to resist the temptation of abusing a system that prided itself on being "based on trust." Walton--once a lawyer bound by the ethics of his profession--was seduced by just such a con artist and, eventually, became one himself. What started out as a satisfying exercise in reselling thrift store paintings in order to pay back student loans and mounting credit card debt soon became an addiction to the subtle deception of luring unsuspecting bidders into overpaying for paintings of questionable origins.--From publisher description.

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