Two More Conspirators Plead Guilty in Scheme to Launder $20 Million in Proceeds in Stolen Merchandise - Pawn Shop Case
Eight Defendants Convicted to Date in Scheme to Launder Millions of Dollars in Proceeds of Stolen Over-the-Counter Medicines, Health and Beauty Aid Products, Gift Cards, DVDs, Tools and other Items
Baltimore, Maryland -Jared Lee Ezra, age 41, of Reisterstown, Maryland and Michael B. Levy, age 51, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez 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 Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.
According to their plea agreements, from 2007 to March 2010, Ezra and Levy conspired with others to conduct monetary transactions involving the sale of mass quantities of stolen over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aid products, gift cards, DVDs, tools and other merchandise. Shoplifters, also known as “boosters,” stole products from Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and other retailers in Maryland and other states. Pawn shops bought large amounts of stolen items from the boosters. Ezra and others owned Shine Corner Pawn Shop, and We Buy. Ezra and others would receive stolen products at the pawn shops. Levy and others received and transported stolen merchandise from several of the pawn shops, including TS Liquidators, and received substantial payments from co-conspirators for the stolen material. The stolen items were “cleaned,” meaning that the security labels and retail tags from the stolen product were removed. The stolen products were then shipped to other co-conspirators in New York and other states. Some of the co-conspirators sold the stolen merchandise on Ebay to unsuspecting customers. Ezra and Levy used Maryland banks and financial institutions to receive payments for the stolen products.
On March 25, 2010, agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Baltimore County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants at the liquidation shop and several pawn shops. Agents recovered well over $1 million in stolen merchandise, approximately $1 million in bank accounts and over $140,000 in cash, and 44 firearms. Although the entire conspiracy involved approximately $20 million in stolen merchandise, between $2.5 million and $7 million in stolen items was reasonably foreseeable to Ezra and Levy.
Ezra and Levy face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for Ezra on August 25, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. and for Levy on September 3, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
Eight defendants have pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy to date, including: Justin Noel Mayhew, age 29; Robert Anthony Reed and Daniel Filip Mimer, both age 27; Spencer Michael Garonzik, age 43; Michael Ender, age 32; and Warren Allen Culver II, age 31, all of Baltimore. Reed and Mimer are scheduled to be sentenced on July 1, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. and July 15, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., respectively. Garonzik, Ender and Culver are scheduled to be sentenced on August 26, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 noon, respectively. Mayhew is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kwame J. Manley and Richard Kay, who are prosecuting the case.