Mimi Mai, a pawn shop owner from Massachusetts, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to seven criminal charges in connection with reselling more than $2 million worth of stolen goods on eBay.
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In addition, the United States District Court judge also directed Mai to pay $3,472 in restitution and forfeit $1.5 million to the U.S. government.
She was found to have purchased stolen items such as power tools, electronic devices, sunglasses, and beauty and personal care products from shoplifters, known as “boosters”, who stole merchandise from various stores such as Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Stop & Shop, before reselling them at a profit on eBay.
Furthermore, Mai often paid the boosters less than the agreed amount, as many of them were drug addicts.
Court documents revealed that between 2018 and 2021, she earned $2.1 million by selling the stolen merchandise on eBay and used the proceeds to enrich herself, including purchasing a $1 million house in Florida.
This case highlights the dark side of the eBay marketplace and the risk of purchasing “too good to be true” items listed on eBay that may be stolen.
While eBay has a strict policy against selling stolen goods, enforcement can be challenging. Buyers are urged to exercise caution towards listings with prices on new products well below street value.
Just last year, we reported of a similar case in Nashville, TN, where the pawn shop owner is alleged to have sold more than $1 million in stolen goods on eBay.
Unfortunately, buyers are also victims in these schemes as they may believe they are buying brand-new products that come with a warranty or service, but in reality, because the item was stolen, it may not be eligible for that warranty or service.
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