CHICAGO - A multi-million dollar crime ring has been busted as police have now charged three Chicago men with a sophisticated operation.
The men are accused of running an intricate resale operation throughout Chicagoland, where they'd buy stolen retail items, then resell it online.
Police say they worked out of several Chicago storefronts, some of which have now been shut down, and used more than 15 different bank accounts to try to cover their tracks.
42-year-old Esam Abdelhavez, 33-year-old Mostfa Abdelhaviz, and 31-year-old Hany Abdelhavez are charged with felony theft, money laundering, and continuing a financial crimes enterprise.
On Monday, Wilmette police served search warrants at five different locations in Chicago and Oak Park, recovering $2 million worth of stolen merchandise.
They found out about the scheme after catching one of the retail thieves selling to the suspects, that thief then became an informant. This scheme has allegedly been going on for at least two years and police estimate it's earned these men millions of dollars.
“They direct them to go into these retail establishments, they will steal these items, sell them for 10 cents, 20 cents on the dollar to the storefront location, they will then move those items to other locations which are called cleaning locations,” said Kyle Murphy, Wilmette Police Chief. “They will remove the identifying information, re-tag them, then sell them."
A judge set bail at $150,000 for each man. They are due back in court on Friday.