Ebay Fraudster Sentenced for Fencing Stolen Property
Hill Made Millions Reselling Stolen Merchandise Acquired From Identity Thieves
ATLANTA – Robert A. Hill was sentenced today to serve over seven years in federal prison for selling over $9 million in stolen property from his eBay store and shipping the goods across state lines to his customers.
“Robert Hill fueled his Internet-based fraud with the help of a group of identity thieves who gave him a steady supply of merchandise,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “His use of the Internet expanded his reach and magnified the crime, ending in millions of dollars of damage to both individual victims and retailers. Today’s prison sentence does justice for the widespread damage he caused.”
“The defendant’s criminal actions reflect how advancements in digital technology can also have a negative effect on our communities. The Secret Service, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, will continue to actively investigate and arrest those that commit crimes that prey on unsuspecting victims,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.
“This case demonstrates the ever-increasing need for law abiding citizens to remain vigilant about their personal identifying information and credit profiles,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison. “The ongoing increase of identity related crimes is concerning and troubling both to the economy and the criminal justice system. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is proud to see justice on behalf of the many victims in this case.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: For over ten years through December 2011, Hill operated a scheme out of Roswell, Ga. that involved shipping stolen merchandise across state lines. Hill had an eBay store called atlantis_discount_ warehouse_llc, where he sold the merchandise online to buyers from across the United States. To get merchandise for sale, Hill worked with a group of identity thieves who used fraudulent credit cards opened in the names of numerous identity theft victims to buy expensive items, such as iPads, iPods, iPhones, computers, Wii game systems, cameras, golf clubs, and tools, from large retail stores. These co-conspirators used fake drivers’ licenses to apply for new credit cards and take over existing accounts at the stores. They targeted accounts at Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Hill then bought the items from his co-conspirators for about 60% of their retail value, knowing that the merchandise had been stolen and obtained by fraud. He sometimes gave the thieves lists of items that he needed for his eBay store. Hill stored the merchandise at a storage facility in Alpharetta, Ga. He sold it at just under retail value to buyers from around the United States. As part of the scheme, he shipped items to buyers in numerous states, including California, New York, Florida, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, Virginia, Utah, and Maine.
During the course of the scheme, Hill sold millions of dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise through his eBay store. Search warrants executed at his residence and storage facility uncovered over $44,000 in cash and a large quantity of high-value electronic equipment in boxes ready for sale.
Hill, 51, now of Swainsboro, Ga., was sentenced today by United States District Judge Richard W. Story to serve seven years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $740,446.58. In a parallel civil action, Judge Amy Totenberg also ordered the forfeiture of over $44,000 in cash, two bank accounts with over $47,000, a 1999 Lexus RS 300, and thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics equipment and jewelry. Hill was convicted of these charges on December 19, 2012, after pleading guilty.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the United States Secret Service and Investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Jeffrey Viscomi prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.