Salem man locked up on new Internet scam charge

Criminal charges continue to mount against Salem resident Rance Carli, an accused Internet scam artist, who was served with a new arrest warrant this morning in New London Superior Court.

Carli, 53, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bond. He had already posted a total of $750,000 in bonds on previous charges. His attorney, Paul M. Melocowsky, said Carli does not intend to post the new bond and will remain incarcerated. Melocowsky also said Carli, who now has a total of eight pending criminal cases, is attempting to retain a new attorney.

The latest warrant involves Carli's attempted purchase in February of a 1956 Cadillac Coupe from a Florida man who had advertised the car online. Michael Calhoon, a car dealer from Lakeland, Fla., contacted Salem Resident Trooper Kevin Seery in March, telling Seery that he "smelled a rat" when Carli's attempts to pay him $38,000 through wire transfers and checks continued to fail. Calhoon told Seery he became aware that Carli was involved in several "scam" operations on line and did not ship the vehicle to Carli.

Carli has been awaiting trial for fraudulently collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers who thought they were purchasing vehicles through an online auction site but never received the vehicles. As a condition of his release, a judge had forbidden him from engaging in any online business transactions.

Carli's attorney asked Judge Susan B. Handy to lower the bond this morning after Handy read Carli his rights on the new case. Melocowsky said Carli denies the allegations.

"I would note no money ever changed hands," Melocowsky said.

Handy, who had signed the new warrant and set the bond amount, said the bond would remain at $500,000.

"He was negotiating to buy a vehicle from a man in Florida," she said. "He said he sent a check but the person didn't receive a check. It was the exact modus operandi of all the other cases."

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