Are you having a hard time cracking the Internet sales puzzle? Just when you thought it was impossible to sell stuff on the Web, you read about a 17-year-old from Mission Viejo, Calif., who concocted a scheme that defrauded investors of more than $1 million.

In the second such case ever filed against a youth, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Cole A. Bartiromo of operating a Web site and Internet message board that promised “risk-free” returns of up to 2,500% within a few days or weeks of initial investments.

No spam or banner ads. He just promised 2,500% returns. So that’s the secret? But still, where does one find so many suckers willing to believe such promises? I guess he’s lucky that one is born every minute. Interesting side note in some of the coverage: the kid, Cole Bartiromo, is quite a talented baseball player and sports memorabilia trader.