Science and Technology News

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Platte County Man Sentenced for High-Tech Fencing Scheme

Merchandise Shoplifted, Auctioned on eBay

January 30, 2010 - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for organizing a scheme to shoplift merchandise then sell the stolen property on the Internet auction site eBay.

John Charles Chass, 42, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to 33 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Chass to pay $120,000 in restitution.

On June 4, 2009, Chass pleaded guilty to leading a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to transport stolen property across state lines from February 2005 through December 2007. Chass recruited a group of “boosters,” who would steal merchandise from retail stores and deliver it to Chass, who paid the boosters for the stolen merchandise based upon a percentage of its retail value. Chass then advertised the stolen merchandise on his eBay website known as “Stairway to the Stars.”

Six co-defendants also pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and have been sentenced: Joshua L. Zimmerman, 23, of Kansas City; Stacie M. Emmerich, 34, of Independence, Mo.; Barbara J. Sharp, 54, and Michael Dale Ivester, Jr., 28, both of Gladstone, Mo.; and Tina Deann Cox, 39, and Daniel G. Moody, 31, both of Gower, Mo.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Cowles. It was investigated by the Career Criminal Section of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, which also includes agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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