Two men get probation for multi-million-dollar fencing scheme
Updated: February 25, 2013 8:38PM
Two north suburban men who operated a multi-million-dollar fencing operation were sentenced to probation after they pleaded guilty Friday to buying and selling stolen merchandise.
Ajay Patel of Glenview and Vijay Patel of Lincolnwood owned and operated Advance Distributors in the 4900 block of North Pulaski Road, a wholesale importer of general merchandise, authorities said.
The pair purchased stolen merchandise and repackaged the items for sale online, authorities said. They would also alter or remove expiration dates on products, including over-the-counter medicines.
The Patels were charged with theft and money laundering after they purchased $22,000 worth of items stolen from a truck from undercover officers, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’ office.
On Friday, both pleaded guilty and Judge Joseph G. Kazmierski Jr. sentenced the men to two years probation and levied fines, State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
The investigation included six recorded messages between the Patels, and undercover officers, according to authorities. The Patels, 36 and 37 at the time, were caught on video admitting they knew the products were stolen.
Authorities said they recovered more than $4.5 million cash stuffed in duffel bags, suitcases and boxes at their home when they were arrested in November 2010.