KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A pawn shop owner in Kansas City, Missouri admitted to engaging in a $744,000 scheme to fence more than 14,000 stolen items and sell them on eBay.
Dennis G. Russell, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property across state lines and is sentenced to up to five years without parole.
Russell was one of two members of the board of directors of Rison of KC, Inc., which does business as National Pawn in Kansas City.
During the conspiracy that Russell participated in from 2017-2021, he admittedly purchased items he knew had been stolen from various retail locations in the Kansas City area, then sold those items on eBay.
Russell shipped approximately 14,672 stolen items across state lines, resulting in gross proceeds of approximately $744,222, according to the news release.
Multiple suspects, known as “boosters,” stole items from Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, CVS, Walgreens, and other retail locations. They sold such stolen items as robot vacuum cleaners, textbooks, Roku and Google Chromecast television streaming devices, and Crest Whitestrips to Russell at a fraction of their retail price.
Russell then posted the stolen items for sale on eBay, using one of two accounts, and shipped them to purchasers in numerous other states.
On Oct. 21, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at National Pawn and seized 3,400 items, which Russell and National Pawn do not contest were stolen property.
Rison of KC has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of that agreement, the business admits to the criminal conspiracy and accepts responsibility for the acts of its officers and employees.
As part of the agreement, the corporation will provide the government with an updated list of all of its financial accounts and keep its receipts from the purchase of new items.
Russell must forfeit to the government any property obtained from the proceeds of this offense, including a money judgment of $744,222 under the terms of his plea agreement.