Pawn shop owner to go to jail for stolen goods scheme

Louis Leitch, Sr. admitted to conspiring to launder millions

April 12, 2011|By Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in federal prison his role in a multimillion-dollar stolen-goods scheme that operated out of his West Patapsco Avenue pawn shop.

Louis Leitch, Sr., 62, also failed to pay more than $400,000 in income taxes on $2.5 million of income, according to prosecutors.

Leitch admitted in U.S. District Court that he allowed shoplifters to use his store to sell medicine, health and beauty products, DVDs and tools stolen from Target, Safeway, Kohl's, and other retailers in Maryland. The products were then "cleaned" of their security labels and retail tags, sometimes using a heat gun and lighter fluid and sold on sites like eBay and Amazon at steeply discounted prices.

Thirteen other defendants have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy so far. The man prosecutors believe was the ringleader of the money laundering scheme, Jerome Ira Stal, plead guilty in October but has not yet been sentenced, said a spokeswoman for the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office.

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