Two Men Guilty of Federal Charges Related to Large-Scale Fencing Operation
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found GEORGE J. CONNELLY, JR., 48, of New Haven, and WILLIAM REIDELL, 41, of Branford, guilty of federal offenses related to their role in a large-scale fencing operation. The trial before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea began on May 10 and the jury returned the guilty verdicts this afternoon.
According to the evidence at trial, CONNELLY and Paul Muzyka operated a licensed secondhand store, Ace Amusements, located at 42 Kimberly Avenue in New Haven. At Ace Amusements, CONNELLY and Muzyka knowingly purchased stolen property from “boosters,” who typically were shoplifters with opioid addictions. The boosters stole the goods from retail stores such as Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Lowe’s, and sold the goods at Ace Amusements for approximately one-third of their retail prices. CONNELLY and Muzyka then resold the stolen goods at Ace Amusements, and also online at websites such as eBay. CONNELLY and Muzyka also sold property to resellers, including REIDELL, who then resold the property online using online websites.
The trial evidence showed at least $1.5 million in sales on eBay from 2007 to 2016 by individuals, including REIDELL, who purchased stolen items at Ace Amusements to resell online.
The jury found CONNELLY and REIDELL guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. The jury also found CONNELLY guilty of two counts, and REIDELL guilty of one count, of interstate transport of stolen property, an an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count. The jury found CONNELLY not guilty of one count of interstate transport of stolen property.
CONNELLY and REIDELL are released on $100,000 bonds pending sentencing. Sentencing dates are not yet scheduled.
On March 16, 2018, Muzyka, of North Haven, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property and one count of interstate transport of stolen property. He awaits sentencing.
This investigation has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Connecticut State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Connecticut Department of Correction, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, and the New Haven, North Haven, Milford, West Haven, Wallingford, Hamden and Orange Police Departments.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Pierpont, Jr. and David T. Huang.