The former owner of a North Charleston pawnshop was sentenced to three years in prison for buying about $1 million in stolen merchandise and selling it online, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Eugene Walter Jones, 60, of Goose Creek was sentenced Monday in downtown Charleston for his participation in the Patriot Pawn shop scheme, prosecutors said.
Jones pleaded guilty in June to a federal conspiracy count of transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce. Jones was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Between 2007 and 2012, Jones led the scheme and recruited dozens of people to steal merchandise from retail stores including Lowe's, Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Belk, Kmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Best Buy, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart, who prosecuted the case.
Jones had his co-conspirators steal specific merchandise, including computer software, calculators and kitchen appliances, which they would sell to Jones at Patriot Pawn, DeHart said.
Jones bought the items for far less than the retail value and would sell the merchandise on eBay, according to prosecutors.
Jones divided the illegal proceeds between himself and his co-conspirators, DeHart said.
During his sentencing, the judge also issued a $1 million order of forfeiture against Jones, to be paid to the retailers.
There were eight other codefendants prosecuted in this case, all of which have pleaded guilty or entered pretrial diversion, according to DeHart.
In 1993, Jones was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, according to prosecutors.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.