Chicago area man found guilty of operating $20 million retail crime ring
CHICAGO - A northwest suburban Chicago man was convicted by a federal jury Thursday of running a multi-million dollar retail crime ring, according to federal prosecutors.
After four days of trial, Artur Gilowski, 48, of Barrington, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Gilowski was ordered detained immediately after the verdict was read on Thursday.
According to evidence presented at trial, Gilowski’s coconspirators stole tens of thousands of products – valued at over $20 million – from brick-and-mortar retail stores in Chicago, Franklin Park and Texas, then shipped them to Gilowski, who sold the stolen goods on e-commerce websites Amazon and eBay, generating more than $11 million in profits.
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The thieves traveled across the country in vehicles registered under false names and used "booster skirts" (garments with concealment pouches for stolen goods) and electronic transmitters designed to disrupt retailers’ security tags and loss-prevention measures. Using aliases, they rented storage lockers where they kept the stolen items until they could be shipped to interstate and foreign customers via the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx.
Gilowski created a network of numerous online seller profiles, multiple bank accounts, and various companies registered in other people’s names to conduct the unlawful online sale scheme and funnel the proceeds of his illicit operation to himself.
The evidence also showed that Gilowski received over a million dollars in cash from his crime ring – including $97,000 that was found in the center console of his truck – which led one of Gilowski’s coconspirators to testify at trial that Gilowski "treated money like trash."
"Mr. Gilowski and his coconspirators swiped thousands of products from retail shelves, then resold stolen goods online," said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. "We are proud to hold these defendants accountable for their crimes, and are grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of our case."
"Organized retail crime leads to consumers having to pay higher prices for goods, fewer job openings, and a decrease in consumer spending on legitimate goods that small-business owners and other retailers depend on for survival," said acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Miller, HSI Dallas. "Working alongside the U. S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Arlington Heights (Illinois) Police Department, we were able to secure today’s conviction, and take another step in our ongoing fight against organized retail crime so consumers and retailers don’t have to bear the brunt of those impacts."
Seven of Gilowski’s coconspirators pleaded guilty prior to trial.
Gilowski now faces up to 25 years in federal prison. He is set for sentencing on Aug. 2.
The Arlington Heights Police Department in Illinois conducted the investigation with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.