Final Defendants Sentenced in Scheme to Sell $20 Million Worth of Stolen Merchandise
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Jared Baraloto, age 38, of Monkton, Maryland today to 56 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a conspiracy to purchase, sell and transport stolen goods. On December 9, 2011, a federal jury convicted Baraloto, of conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines, a money laundering conspiracy and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
On June 26, 2012, Judge Legg sentenced the leader of the scheme, Jerome Stal, age 43, of Baltimore, to 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. According to his plea agreement and other court documents, Stal directed the conspiracy and was connected to every defendant charged in the case. Between 2006 and early 2010, Stal purchased over $24 million in stolen property and sold those items to contacts around the nation and on the internet, for over $28.7 million.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office.
“The perpetrators of this fraud were motivated by greed and acted as if they were above the law. Today's sentence brought an abrupt end to their criminal behavior. IRS Criminal Investigation welcomed the opportunity to lend its financial expertise to assist in dismantling this criminal enterprise,” said Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the IRS - CI.
Baraloto, Stal and their co-conspirators were involved in the purchase and sale of mass quantities of stolen over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aid products, gift cards, DVDs, tools and other merchandise. Buy/sell shops such as We Buy, owned by Spencer Garonzik and Jared Ezra; Fast Money, owned by Jerald Bradford; Shine Corner, owned by Jared Ezra; E-Z Money, owned by Louis Leitch; Patapsco Exchange, Eastern Exchange and Harford Exchanges, all owned by Jason Logue; Cash N A Flash, owned by Michael Ender; and Blue Diamond, owned by Jerome Stal and Jared Baroloto, purchased large amounts of stolen items from shoplifters, also known as “boosters.” The boosters would steal products from Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and other retailers in Maryland and other states. Investigators observed boosters bringing in large bags full of stolen material. The stolen items often had retail security labels and merchandise tags still on the products.
According to testimony at his three week trial, Jared Baraloto would obtain stolen material from buy/sell shops, including shops owned by other co-conspirators. Baraloto often had his workers bring the stolen material from the shops to TS Liquidators, which was owned by Jerome Stal, where the items would be cleaned and prepared for shipment. Jerome Stal also purchased stolen items directly from other conspirators. According to trial testimony, Stal paid Baraloto approximately $1.8 million for his stolen materials. Baraloto and Stal later opened Blue Diamond Jewelry and Loan, a pawn shop located at 3438 Annapolis Road in Halethorpe, Maryland, where they also purchased some of the stolen goods, deliberately ignoring obvious evidence that the items were stolen.
Other conspirators, like William Cooper, Warren Culver, Scott Bradford, Daniel Mimer, Robert Reed, Justin Mayhew, and Nick Acosta had no supervisory role in the scheme, but were the ones who dealt with the “boosters” and the massive volume of stolen goods, “cleaning” the stolen products by removing the security labels and merchandise tags, then packaging, transporting, and shipping the stolen goods. For example, Cooper was employed by defendants Jared Ezra and Spencer Garonzik, among others, and received some of the stolen products at We Buy Pawn Shop, Shine Corner Pawn Shop and other locations. Cooper coordinated with several “boosters” the purchase and drop-off of the stolen items at the pawn shops for which he worked. Cooper also purchased presumably stolen material at We Buy from an undercover agent. Some of the conspirators also had on-line auction sites, such as eBay and Amazon.com, where they would sell the stolen products far below normal retail value. Cooper was one of the defendants who maintained such an eBay account. The stolen products were then delivered to unsuspecting customers by mail. Cooper and other defendants received payment using PayPal accounts and through financial institutions in Maryland.
On March 25, 2010, agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Baltimore County Police Department and the FBI executed search warrants at We Buy, Shine Corner, TS Liquidators and the pawn shops in this case. Agents recovered well over $1 million in stolen merchandise, approximately $1 million in bank accounts and over $140,000 in cash from these shops.
The entire conspiracy involved approximately $20 million in stolen merchandise.
Judge Legg previously sentenced the following defendants:
Spencer Michael Garonzik, age 45, of Baltimore, to 46 months in prison;
Jason Logue, age 39, of Middle River, to a year and a day in prison;
Louis Leitch, Sr., age 63, of Sparrows Point, to 33 months in prison;
Michael Brian Levy, age 53, of Baltimore, to two years in prison;
Jared Lee Ezra, age 43, of Reisterstown, to 14 months in prison;
Warren Allen Culver II, age 33, of Dundalk, to 18 months in prison;
Daniel F. Mimer, age 29, of Baltimore, to one year home detention with electronic monitoring;
Robert Anthony Reed, age 29, of Baltimore, to time served;
Michael Paul Ender, age 34, of Glen Burnie, to a year and a day in prison;
Justin Noel Mayhew, age 31, of Baltimore, to time served in prison;
Jerald Bradford, age 47, of Glen Burnie, to a year and a day in prison;
Scott Bradford, age 50, of Glen Burnie, to one year home detention with electronic monitoring;
William Cooper, Jr., age 38, of Baltimore, to one year home detention with electronic monitoring;
and Nick Acosta, age 24, of Baltimore, to two years probation.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Baltimore County Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Department; and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their work in this investigation and commended Assistant United States Attorneys Sujit Raman, Barbara S. Sale, Richard Kay and Sean O’Connell, who prosecuted these cases.