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Press Release

Charlotte Business Owner Is Sentenced To 2.5 Years For Transporting Stolen Property

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Edwin R. Barkley, 63, of Charlotte, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney to 30 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for operating a large-scale fraudulent scheme involving the purchase and sale of stolen goods and merchandise through his Charlotte-based storefront business, Tool King USA (Tool King).

Reginald A. DeMatteis, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department join the U.S. Attorney’s Office in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from at least September 2015 through October 2018, Barkley operated the Tool King as a “fence,” which is a business that buys stolen merchandise from multiple “boosters.”  A booster is someone who steals goods and merchandise and sells them to a fence.  Court records show that Barkley bought from multiple boosters large-ticket items such as power tools, vacuum cleaners, generators, and home electronic goods, at a fraction of their retail value.  Barkley then sold the stolen merchandise on an e-commerce platform at or near ninety percent of their retail value, and used the profits to pay for his daily living expenses.

In March 2019, Barkley pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods.  He is currently released on bond and will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In announcing Barkley’s sentence, Judge Whitney stated that the defendant ran a “very sophisticated operation” and that “keeping fingerprints” off the stolen goods does not mean that you are innocent.

This case was the result of the investigative efforts of CMPD and the Secret Service.  The CMPD and the Secret Service have established a fully integrated partnership to combat the most significant organized criminal groups operating in Charlotte.  Through this partnership, this unit has successfully leveraged local and federal resources, personnel, expertise and authorities to identify and combat the criminals and criminal organizations that have the largest negative impact on the community.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny G. Sugar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.



Updated July 25, 2019

Financial Fraud