An Illinois man has been convicted of running a multi-million-dollar retail crime ring after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to court records, Artur Gilowski, 48, operated a criminal enterprise that involved co-conspirators stealing tens of thousands of retail products valued at over $20 million from retail stores across the United States. The products were then shipped to Gilowski, who sold the stolen goods on various e-commerce websites, generating more than $11 million in profits.
The thieves traveled across the country in vehicles registered under false names, using “booster skirts” and electronic transmitters designed to disrupt retailers’ electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems. Using aliases, storage lockers were then rented where the stolen items were kept until they could be shipped to interstate and foreign customers via the US Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx.
Gilowski created a complex network of online seller profiles, using 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.
“Mr. Gilowski and his co-conspirators swiped thousands of products from retail shelves, then resold stolen goods online,” said US 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.”
“Thieves have only become more sophisticated with their criminal schemes and are often using third-party marketplaces to make fortunes selling stolen merchandise,” said Michael Hanson, Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson. “This incident only strengthens the case for passing the INFORM Consumers Act, a common sense, bipartisan measure that addresses the onslaught of both stolen and counterfeit goods that are being sold on leading e-commerce platforms.”
“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 HSI Dallas Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Miller. “Working alongside the US Attorney’s Office, US 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.”
Five of Gilowski’s co-conspirators pleaded guilty prior to trial. Gilowski now faces up to 25 years in federal prison.
The Arlington Heights Police Department in Illinois conducted the investigation with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Office and the US Postal Inspection Service.