Two Lehigh Valley area men charged with money laundering conspiracy and other crimes

 

Date: September 8, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Rolland Houle of Breinigsville, Pennsylvania and Jason Brody of Allentown, Pennsylvania were recently charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Both men entered pleas of not guilty in federal court on September 4, 2020.

According to the indictment, defendants Rolland Houle and Jason Brody participated in a scheme to obtain money by stealing merchandise from retail stores; selling the stolen items to third parties over eBay, and similar online storefronts; and mailing the stolen items to the purchasers. Specifically, high value electronics and expensive personal care items were shoplifted from large retailers throughout the Lehigh Valley region and sold online via eBay or similar online storefronts.

The co-conspirators created multiple seller's account with eBay, by the names rc-heros, hamiltonelectronics610, and buyselltradebethlehem. The co-conspirators advertised and sold the stolen merchandise at prices lower than even large retailers like Walmart and Target; which are known for offering the lowest prices due to the quantities these national retailers deal in. Once the items were sold, they were shipped via U.S. Postal Service, and other couriers to the online buyers of the merchandise. The buyers were located in Dunmore, Lebanon, and Avoca Pennsylvania. Some of the stolen goods they sold included NutriBullet 8-piece NBR-0801, Nutrition Extractor Blender Juicer, HP Pavilion 21-H013W All-in-one touch PC 4GB WIN 8.1 1TB HDD NIB, and ROC Multi-Correction 5 in 1 restoring night cream/wrinkles/lines.

They also conspired between themselves and others to launder the proceeds from the sale of the stolen merchandise in an attempt to conceal the nature of the funds and to promote the ongoing criminal activity.

"Criminals and criminal organizations use money laundering as way to inject their illicit proceeds into our local economies," said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. "All financial transactions leave a trail and we have the unique expertise to follow those leads. Mr. Houle's and Mr. Brody's actions threatened the financial health of our communities and the charges against them underscore our efforts to combat such crimes."

Trial in this matter is scheduled for November 02, 2020 in Scranton, Pennsylvania before Honorable Malachy E Mannion.

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd K. Hinkely.