Has Royal Camera moved beyond bait and switch?

If you have read my previous articles on the Brooklyn camera shop known as Royal Camera, City Camera, Tcscamera.com, and bananaboatcamera.com, you already know that this outfit is a master of bait and switch and a dealer in gray market cameras. It appears that they may be moving further to the dark side.

One of my readers just sent me a email making a case that Royal Scamera may be altering merchandise by removing serial numbers, which if true, is fraud.

If you have received Sigma lenses from this company, you should read her letter and contact the authorities using the information she provides.

In fact, you should read her letter anyway if you are thinking of buying anything from this company:

Good Morning David:

My name is Carol Brophy. I am a partner with Nossaman, Guthner, Knox
and Elliott in California. I have been a victim of serious wire fraud
(RICO), and other consumer fraud by Royal Camera (also doing business
as City Camera, Tcscamera.com, bananaboatcamera.com, maybe others)

About 10 days ago I purchased a Nikon d200 package (advertised as elite
pro) which was to include two Nikon VR lenses. Long story short, they
sent a Hong Kong body (complete with an Asian plug on the charger, and
of course no warranty) and Sigma Lenses, rather than the Nikon VR.

called Sigma and learned that the serial numbers on the two lenses
(Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG Macro; and Sigma 135-400mm 4.5-5.6 APO DG) had
been removed and a black plastic strip with bogus serial numbers had
been inserted in the inset cavity where the factory applied serial
number should have been. Sigma verified that no lens with either of the
serial numbers had ever been produced by the Sigma factory. Without the
correct serial number it is impossible to determine where the lens came
from. It is also possible that these are stolen goods. Of course, if
the serial number is fraudulent there is no warranty at all.

This is much more than bait and switch. With the alteration of merchandise it becomes fraud.

In addition to notifying Sigma Corporation and Nikon USA, I have also contacted the FBI (Northern California division), the California Office of the Attorney General, and my credit card fraud division – (This is not a simple "billing dispute", because the altered lenses are evidence of criminal activity.)

Based upon my research so far, I have identified two other individuals who have received Sigma lenses that have been similarly altered. I believe that there are hundreds of individuals who received Sigma lenses, and who are unaware that the lenses do not have "legitimate" serial numbers. Significantly, each of these were ordered from on line businesses with some contact to Brooklyn, N Y. (Some have additional addresses in NJ) For example, within the last two weeks a fraudulent lens has shown up that was sold by Sigma4Less.

I am pushing the FBI to actually do something about this scam, and with the had evidence of the sale of altered goods, they are considering further investigation. This appears to be a clear case of wire fraud, and may be prosecuted under RICO.  I am providing this information to you in the hope that you will update your blog, and encourage individuals who have purchased a Sigma lens to contact Tom Sobey, SIGMA CORPORATION, (1-631-585-1144) will check to see if their serial number has been altered.  If it has, they may also choose to contact the FBI (415) 553-7450, which is the office where I have already reported the problem.  By having others make reports, it will assist the FBI to investigate and prosecute. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Carol Brophy

For additional background on this company, you might want to read these earlier posts:

Royal Camera – a study in deceptive practices

Is there a meltdown in store for Royal Camera?

Google + blogs = influence

Warning – Royal Camera has reinvented itself.

There are plenty of good camera companies out there. To make sure, just Google their name in conjunction with words like problem, scam, and

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