NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 60-year-old Goose Creek man was sentenced to three years in prison for an online theft conspiracy based out of a North Charleston pawn shop.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles announced that Eugene Jones was sentenced in federal count in Charleston on charges of conspiracy to transport goods in interstate commerce.
Jones was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and three years supervised release.
Prosecutors say evidence established that from at least 2007 through 2012, Jones led a conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce via the Internet.
According to court records, it was part of the conspiracy that Jones owned and operated Patriot Pawn in North Charleston. Authorities say Jones recruited dozens of persons to steal merchandise from retail stores including Lowes, Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Belk, K-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Best Buy.
Court records state Jones suggested to his co-conspirators to steal specific merchandise, including computer software, calculators, tool kits, electronic devices, and kitchen appliances.
After stealing goods from area stores, authorities say the co-conspirators took the stolen goods to Patriot Pawn, where Jones and his employees bought the stolen goods for far less than retail value, knowing the goods were stolen or obtained by fraud.
Prosecutors say Jones, with the assistance of others, sold the stolen goods on eBay.
According to prosecutors, Jones sold the stolen goods to buyers in other states, including Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and California.
During the conspiracy, approximately $1 million in stolen goods were sold on eBay and transported in interstate commerce, and Jones divided these illegal proceeds between himself and his co-conspirators.
The case was investigated by agents of the Secret Service and the North Charleston Police Departure. Assistant United States Attorney Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.