Cambria County Man Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering, Mail and Wire Fraud Charges
The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that a Cambria County man pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III in Harrisburg.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Gary Vaughn, age 37, of Portage, Pennsylvania, operated "Gary's Steals and Deals," consignment stores in Blair, Cambria, and Somerset counties. He also sold merchandise over the Internet on eBay. Vaughn obtained his merchandise by solicting and enlisting "runners," mainly drug addicts, to steal the items from other retail establishments such as WalMart, Target, RiteAid, JoAnne's Fabric, Macy's, and CVS. Some of the items were small, but relatively expensive, such as digital cameras, MP3 players, and DVD box sets, while others were large, including power tools, sweepers, and embroidery machines. Vaughn paid the runners 40-50% of the suggested retail value of the merchandise. At one point, in response to customers' complaints to eBay, Vaughn put his eBay seller's account in the name of his infant son to avoid detection by law enforcement.
As part of the plea, Vaughn agreed to forfeit $900,000 to the United States as his illegal proceeds of money laundering. U.S. Attorney Smith noted that Vaughn faces up to 25 years in prison and a $750,00 million fine. No sentencing date has been set.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian A. Fisanick, Chief of the Criminal Division.
Protect yourself from fraud, and report suspected cases of financial fraud to local law enforcement.