News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MONDAY - November 17, 2008

RALEIGH SHOPLIFTER SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that on Wednesday, November 12, 2008, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced SOMSAK SAEKU, 46, of Raleigh, North Carolina, to nine years each for two counts of wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. The 108 month sentences are to run concurrent to each other. The two-day trial was conducted in September of this year. In addition, the defendant was ordered to make $45,230 in specific restitution to one of his victims. The defendant will forfeit all designated assets which were obtained as a result of the his conduct. A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on October 10, 2007. SAEKU dismissed his attorney the day before trial began in order to represent himself. SAEKU has been arrested at least nine times in the last 15 years for larceny and has 22 documented incidents of shoplifting. At least seven of the twenty victims testified against SAEKU during the September, 2008, trial, including one witness who told of an incident in which SAEKU used a knife to avoid apprehension. Evidence at the trial also showed photos of volumes of “business-like shipping” documents and assorted stolen merchandise that was recovered during the investigation. The merchandise in his home, when searched, was organized in racks and bookshelves. He was found to have amassed liquid assets of approximately $500,000 in addition to a home valued at $214,000. In addition, he was found to have stolen over $1,042,243 in merchandise from Triangle area merchants over a three and one-half year period.

The jury also forfeited SAEKU’s house, cars and bank accounts, less one investment account, to the government.

Mr. Holding commented on the sentencing, “Shoplifting is paid for by all of us. Higher retail costs are the direct result to those that steal from unsuspecting merchants. It is especially important that we prosecute vigorously those that make a living by dishonesty and theft. In this district professional thieves will be dealt with swiftly and severely.” The investigation of the case was conducted by agents of the United States Postal Service and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Gaston Williams and William Gilmore served as prosecutors for the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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