staff and news service reports
updated 1/13/2005 4:59:30 PM ET 2005-01-13T21:59:30

Federal prosecutors accused a Pennsylvania man Thursday of sending out phony e-mails seeking tsunami relief donations. The e-mails purported to be from the internationally known aid organization Mercy Corps.

FBI agents arrested 24-year-old Matthew Schmider of Carrick in Allegheny County in the first arrest in a national crackdown on tsunami relief scams.

According to the criminal complaint, Schmider told authorities he planned to use the money to repair his car and pay bills.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on its Web site that Schmider came to the attention of authorities after people filed complaints against him with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Schmider was released on $25,000 unsecured bond after a brief hearing. He made no comment as he left the courthouse, and he did not have an attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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