ATLANTA – A former Roswell resident pleaded guilty Dec. 19 to charges of selling several million dollars’ worth of stolen property through his eBay store and shipping the goods across state lines to customers.
Robert A. Hill, 51, now of Swainsboro, Ga., allegedly worked with a ring of identity thieves who fraudulently bought goods on credit at large retail stores using the personal information of numerous victims in Georgia.
Hill now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Prosecutors allege that, for over 10 years through December 2011, Hill allegedly operated his scheme out of Roswell. Hill had an eBay store called Atlantis Discount Warehouse LLC, where he sold the merchandise online to buyers from across the United States. To get merchandise for sale, Hill worked with a group of identity thieves who bought expensive items, such as iPads, iPods, iPhones, computers, Wii game systems, cameras, golf clubs and tools, from large retail stores. The goods were bought using fake credit cards opened in the names of numerous victims. These co-conspirators used fake driver’s licenses to apply for new credit cards and take over existing accounts at the stores. They targeted accounts at Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Hill then bought the items from his co-conspirators for about 60 percent of their retail value, knowing that the merchandise had been stolen and obtained by fraud. He sometimes gave the thieves lists of items that he needed for his eBay store. Hill stored the merchandise at a storage facility in Alpharetta. He sold it at just under retail value to buyers from around the United States.
During the course of the scheme, Hill sold over $9 million in merchandise through his eBay store. Search warrants executed at his residence and storage facility uncovered over $44,000 in cash and a large quantity of high-value electronic equipment in boxes ready for sale.
“This case demonstrates the damage that can be done by criminals who combine identity theft with the power of the Internet to reach beyond state lines,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “His crimes leave a wake of individual victims whose good names and credit were abused, in addition to numerous retail victims who suffered millions in lost sales from the scheme.”