CHICAGO—A Streamwood man was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for directing a fraud scheme in which he sold stolen merchandise valued at more than $1 million over the Internet. The defendant, Ahmet Keskes, was convicted at trial a year ago and was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in federal court. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal inspection Service in Chicago, announced the sentence today.
Keskes, 40, was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $640,810, representing the amount of stolen merchandise that could be traced back to specific retailers. Keskes will begin serving his sentence on June 18, 2012.
According to court documents, between 2002 and September 2009, Keskes owned Asena Corp., an online resale shop that he managed out of a warehouse in Streamwood and which advertised goods over the Internet on websites such as eBay, Amazon.com, and his own website, www.asenashop.com. Between the spring of 2006 and September 2009, Keskes sold approximately 79,300 items over eBay and Amazon for approximately $4.6 million, with virtually all of the merchandise having been stolen from retailers and valued at more than $1 million.
Evidence in the case showed that Kekses purchased goods that he knew were stolen from organized retail theft crews and sometimes directed these theft crews to bring him specific merchandise, which he purchased for amounts far below their retail or wholesale value. The goods included perfumes and colognes, skin care products, golf clubs, artwork, pet products, toys, and toothbrushes, from such retailers as Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Callaway, Hobby Lobby, and Toys-R-Us. Certain items still had the victim store’s price tags and security tags still on them. Keskes stored the stolen merchandise in his Streamwood warehouse before selling them to individual customers throughout the country over the Internet.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher McFadden.