A man from the Chicago area was found guilty of running a $20 million retail criminal ring as the ringleader.
Artur Gilowski, 48, of Barrington, was found guilty of conspiring to transport stolen property across state lines and mail fraud after a four-day trial. After the verdict was announced on Thursday, Gilowski was placed under home arrest.
Gilowski and his collaborators are accused of stealing tens of thousands of items worth more than $20 million from retail businesses in Chicago, Franklin Park, and Texas, then sending them to Gilowski, who made more than $11 million by selling the stolen items on e-commerce sites including Amazon and eBay.
The crooks utilized “booster skirts” (garments with secret pouches for stolen goods) and electronic transmitters to disable security tags and loss-prevention devices as they traveled across the country in automobiles registered under false names. They rented storage lockers using fictitious identities and kept the stolen goods there until they could be shipped to interstate and international customers via USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
To carry out his illegal internet sale activities and transfer the money to himself, Gilowski set up a network of multiple online seller profiles, numerous bank accounts, and various enterprises in other people’s names.
Gilowski’s criminal network gathered over a million dollars in cash, according to the evidence, including $97,000 found in the center console of his truck, prompting one of his coconspirators to testify at trial that Gilowski “treats money like trash.”
According to US Attorney Chad Meacham, Mr. Gilowski and his associates “took hundreds of products from store shelves and resold them online.” “We are overjoyed to see these criminals punished, and we appreciate the jury’s comprehensive inquiry into our case.”
“Organized retail crime results in increased retail prices, fewer job vacancies, and lower consumer spending on genuine items that small-business owners and other merchants rely on to stay afloat,” said Christopher Miller, acting Special Agent in Charge of the HSI Dallas. “We were able to secure today’s conviction and take another step in our ongoing fight against organized retail crime so that consumers and retailers don’t have to bear the brunt of those impacts, thanks to our collaboration with the United States Attorney’s Office, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Arlington Heights (Illinois) Police Department.”
Prior to the trial, seven of Gilowski’s coconspirators pled guilty.
If convicted, Gilowski faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison. On August 2nd, he will be sentenced.
The investigation was led by the Arlington Heights Police Department in Illinois, with assistance from the Dallas Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the US Postal Inspection Service.
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