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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Final Defendant Sentenced To 39 Months In Prison For Participating In Large Stolen Property Fraud Ring

Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that this morning, in federal court in Benton, Illinois, Angel Speed, 26, of Columbus, MS, was sentenced to 39 months in federal prison for crimes arising from his participation in a large stolen property fraud ring. The stolen property ring operated in the Metro East and numerous other locations.

Co-defendant Jason J. Parmeley, 43, formerly of O’Fallon, MO, was the leader and organizer of the stolen property ring that victimized numerous retailers and equipment rental stores throughout the United States. At his plea hearing, Parmeley admitted that he used the internet to obtain credit account numbers that individuals and businesses had with retail stores, such as Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and rental stores, such as SunBelt Rentals. Using this information, Parmeley placed orders with the stores in the names, and under the credit accounts, of the individuals and businesses. The items Parmeley ordered frequently consisted of appliances, computers, expensive tools, and construction equipment. Parmeley further admitted that, after he placed the orders, he dispatched drivers to go to the stores and pick up the items. The items were then sold at prices substantially below retail. The profits were wire transferred to Parmeley in Mexico. The losses caused by this stolen property ring exceeded $4,000,000.

Parmeley lived in Mexico and controlled the fraud ring from that country. In late August of 2015, Mexican Immigration Authorities deported Parmeley from Mexico. Parmeley has been held in federal custody since that time.

At the sentencing hearing this morning, United States District Judge Staci M. Yandle found that Speed functioned as Parmeley’s "second lieutenant" while he operated the scheme in Mexico. Specifically, Judge Yandle found that Speed hacked into business’s accounts and obtained their financial information, laundered proceeds of the scheme, and helped to coordinate the activities of the conspiracy’s drivers. In addition to imposing the 39 month prison sentence, the judge also ordered Speed to pay restitution of $456,882.37 to the victims of the stolen property ring for the specific losses that could be identified.

Eight of the fifteen defendants in the case were sentenced to prison. On May 4, 2017, Parmeley received a total sentence of 14 years in prison. Parmeley was sentenced to 140 months for his role in organizing and leading the stolen property conspiracy. Parmeley received an additional 28 months for a bank fraud he committed in Alabama. On June 7, 2016, James D. Litchfield, 59, owner of Big Jim’s Autorama in Madison, IL, was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and his brother, Ryan P. Litchfield, 37, of O’Fallon, MO, was sentenced to 1 year in prison. Both of the brothers admitted to receiving large quantities of the stolen property. On October 4, 2016, Shannan M. Flora, 42, of O’Fallon, MO, and Rigoberto Gutierrez, 28, of Compton, CA, were both sentenced to 15 months in prison. Flora performed a wide variety of tasks for the conspiracy, including arranging sales of stolen goods. Gutierrez coordinated shipments of stolen goods in California. On October 12, 2016, Russell J. Witt, 34, of Mount Clemens, MI, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Witt worked as a driver for the conspiracy for over a year. On December 13, 2016, Sean A. Shields, 48, of Ozark, MO, was also sentenced to 12 months in prison. Shields owned a store in Ozark, MO, and purchased large quantities of the stolen merchandise.

Seven other defendants in the stolen property case were sentenced to terms of probation. They are: Steven J. Belcher, 45, of St. Charles, MO; Nicholas A. Brockman, 20, of Wentzville, MO; Benedict G. Pellerito, 56, of Troy, MO; Bryce E. Atkinson, 22, of Lake Saint Louis, MO; Alice J. Hembree, 44, of Moscow Mills, MO; Tony G. Robertson, 45, of O’Fallon, MO; and Jessie S. Urias, 38, of Compton, CA. Belcher, Brockman, Pellerito, Atkinson, Robertson, and Urias all worked as drivers for the conspiracy. Hembree performed administrative and bookkeeping functions for the fraud ring.

The investigation of the stolen property ring was conducted by agents from the St. Louis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). The FBI received substantial assistance from many state and local police departments in numerous jurisdictions, including the Metro East Auto Theft Task Force and the California Highway Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated June 22, 2017