Shelby County pawn shop owner to plead guilty on charges of running fencing ring

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) -- A Shelby County business owner has agreed to plead guilty in the operation of a pawn-shop fencing ring, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's office.

The U.S. Attorney's Office filed charges on Monday against 59-year-old Steve Randall Scott. Authorities arrested Scott and more than a dozen of his employees in a sting operation last October.

"These defendants encouraged thieves to bring stolen retail merchandise to their pawn shops to fuel an illicit online business where they sold as much as $1.5 million in stolen goods," Town wrote in the statement. "Thanks to the outstanding work of the Secret Service, our partners at the Jefferson County District Attorneys' Office and local law enforcement, we have been able to shut down a widespread fencing operation in our district," he said. "This exemplifies the successes in partnerships."

According to his plea agreement, Scott owned and operated multiple check-cashing, check advance, title loan, and traditional pawn businesses. The stores employed Sarah Vickers Morrow, 39, of Shelby County, who was arrested on one count of conspiring to transport stolen goods across state lines.

Scott ran businesses in the Birmingham Metro Area which were known as Cashmax, Check Exchange, Cash 101, Cash Plus, and Scott's Jewelry and Pawn. He employed Morrow to run Cashmax, Check Exchange, Cash 101, and Cash Plus locations.

In 2015, Scott allegedly agreed to start taking in items from shoplifters and his employees at the time encouraged shoplifters to bring them new, in-box items from national retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Home Depot.

Scott and Vickers would take the items, pay the shoplifters a portion of their value, resell items on Amazon and eBay, and then mail them to locations around the country, according to the release.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town tell CBS42 News that Scott's businesses sold as much as $1.5 million in stolen goods.

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