Cross Lanes Man Operating Extensive Fencing Scheme Found Guilty by Federal Jury
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A federal jury convicted a Cross Lanes man, Nedeltcho Vladimirov, 53, a native of Bulgaria, of one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering after a three-day trial.
Evidence at trial revealed that Vladimirov operated a fraudulent fencing operation - a scheme in which stolen goods were acquired in order to resell them for profit to an unsuspecting buyer. Vladimirov bought the items he resold at a small fraction of the retail cost from individuals addicted to heroin, known in the fencing scheme as “boosters.” Vladimirov met the “boosters” at a gas station in Cross Lanes where he bought new items such as high end vacuum cleaners, tools and other items that he later resold on his eBay account. The investigation revealed that Vladimirov sold over 7,000 items on his eBay account and had over $550,000 in sales over a three-year period. The “boosters” used the cash provided by Vladimirov for the stolen items to support their drug habits. A federal search warrant executed at Vladimirov’s residence by the United States Secret Service on February 10, 2020, revealed that he had set up cleaning stations used to remove security devices and labels from boxes so that the stolen items could not be traced.
The jury heard testimony from law enforcement agents with the United States Secret Service regarding the execution of the search warrant at Vladimirov’s residence and his Mirandized statement. The jury also heard testimony from experts in organized retail fraud investigations who conducted an extensive independent investigation of Vladimirov’s operation which was later shared with state and federal law enforcement officers. Several “boosters” testified that they had sold the stolen products to Vladimirov. The jury also considered the testimony of the defendant.
Vladimirov faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a forfeiture money judgment against him when he is sentenced on November 18, 2021.
“The successful outcome of this case is the result of the outstanding work of the United States Secret Service, the West Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the South Charleston Police Department, together with the Organized Retail Crimes (ORC) investigators from Kroger, CVS Pharmacy and Target Corporation,” said Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston. “I congratulate all those who worked on this case, including Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew J. Tessman and Erik S. Goes and the rest of the dedicated trial team for bringing this defendant to justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting these types of cases and we are working to protect the public from these types of schemes that further the ongoing drug crisis.”
“The Secret Service is dedicated to protecting our nation’s financial institutions and corporations that operate within the Southern District of West Virginia,” said United States Secret Service Resident Agent in Charge Robert Pyle. “We would like to thank the South Charleston Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, as well as the Organized Retail Crime (ORC) investigators from Kroger, Target and CVS Pharmacy who made this investigation successful with their dedication and professionalism.”
United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the jury trial.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00054.