Guilty pleas in scheme to launder $20 million of ORC proceeds

BALTIMORE, MD—Justin Noel Mayhew, age 29, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; and Special Agent in Charge C. André Martin of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.

“We are pursuing not just the thieves who steal merchandise and drive up the costs for honest businesses, but also the downstream criminals who create a market for stolen property and launder the cash that it generates,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Six defendants have pleaded guilty so far in this ongoing investigation, which aims to reduce retail theft by disrupting the market for stolen goods.”

According to his plea agreement, from 2007 to March 2010, Mayhew conspired with Spencer Michael Garonzik, Michael Ender,Warren Allen Culver II, Daniel Filip Mimer, Robert Anthony Reed and others to conduct monetary transactions involving the sale of mass quantities of stolen over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aid products, gift cards, DVDs, tools, and other merchandise. Shoplifters, also known as “boosters,” stole products from Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, and other retailers in Maryland and other states. Pawn shops bought large amounts of stolen items from the boosters. Mayhew and Mimer worked at We Buy Pawn Shop, where Garonzik was an owner; Ender and others worked at Fast Money and Cash N A Flash Pawn Shops; and Warren Culver worked at TS Liquidators and Blue Diamond Pawn Shop. Mayhew, Mimer, Garonzik, Ender and Culver, were responsible for receiving some of the stolen products at the locations where they worked. Mayhew, Reed, Culver and others “cleaned” the stolen items, meaning that the security labels and retail tags from the stolen product were removed. Co-defendant Robert Anthony Reed and others were responsible for picking up the stolen products from the pawn shops and delivering them to TS Liquidators. Ender helped to send stolen merchandise to co-conspirators in New York and other states. Ender also knew that other co-conspirators obtained stolen merchandise and sold it on Ebay to unsuspecting customers. Reed helped to ship those products via the U.S. mail.

On March 25, 2010, agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Baltimore County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants at the liquidation shop and several pawn shops. Agents recovered well over $1 million in stolen merchandise, approximately $1 million in bank accounts and over $140,000 in cash, and 44 firearms. Although the entire conspiracy involved approximately $20 million in stolen merchandise, between $1 million and $2.5 million in stolen items was reasonably foreseeable to Mayhew.

Mayhew faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for September 17, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.

Reed and Mimer, both age 27; Garonzik, age 43; Ender, age 32; and Warren Allen Culver II, age 31, all of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to the same charge. Reed and Mimer are scheduled to be sentenced on July 1, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. and July 15, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., respectively. Garonzik, Ender and Culver are scheduled to be sentenced on August 26, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 noon, respectively.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kwame J. Manley and Richard Kay, who are prosecuting the case.