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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          May 16, 2012                   

CHARLESTON MAN SENTENCED TO 21 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR MAIL FRAUD

Defendant Admitted to Stealing Nearly $200,000 in Merchandise from Charleston Business 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Michael Tincher, 45, of Charleston, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston for mail fraud.  Tincher previously pleaded guilty in January.  The defendant admitted that from approximately 2002 and continuing through October 2010, he devised a scheme to defraud Charleston-based electronics retail store, Sodaro’s Electronic Sales, Inc. (“Sodaro’s”).  Tincher was a Sodaro’s employee at the time of the fraudulent scheme. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood our economy.  When individuals steal from their employers, it not only damages trust, it threatens the livelihood of other employees and the fabric of communities that depend on local businesses.” 

Goodwin continued, “This sentencing underscores my office’s ongoing commitment to protect small businesses in the Southern District.” 

Tincher admitted that he placed numerous orders for merchandise on behalf of Sodaro’s for the sole purpose of stealing the items.  Tincher further admitted that he subsequently listed the items for sale on eBay, Inc. (“eBay”).  The defendant admitted that he sold at least 1,295 items that he had stolen from Sodaro’s using separate eBay auctions.  Tincher received payment from eBay customers through a PayPal account, and from that account, he withdrew cash and otherwise converted the funds for his personal use. 

The defendant admitted that during the course of the fraud scheme, he stole at least $197,312 in items from Sodaro’s. 

Also at sentencing, the Court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to the victim.     

This case is part of the ongoing efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute crimes against small businesses.  In September 2010, U.S. Attorney Goodwin created and launched a comprehensive plan to protect small businesses and nonprofit agencies from fraud and abuse.  Goodwin has redoubled efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute dishonest employees and other criminals who defraud or embezzle from small businesses.

The Crimes Against Small Business Initiative strives to protect businesses and nonprofit organizations by working in partnership with the business community, along with state and local law enforcement officials, to ensure that occurrences of fraud, embezzlement, scams and other crimes targeting small businesses are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas handled the prosecution. 

Click here to listen to an audio clip from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin regarding today’s sentencing

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