Police Officer Defendant Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Steal Laptop Computers and Obstruction of Justice
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2011|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced today that defendant Jorge Raul Romero, of Hialeah Gardens, was found guilty by a jury of the four offenses in the Indictment. At sentencing, the defendant faces a statutory maximum of 25 years in prison.
Romero was found guilty of one count of conspiring to receive and possess goods valued in excess of $5,000, which have crossed a state boundary after having been stolen, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2315, and conspiring to commit cargo theft of goods valued in excess of $1,000 or more, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 659, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 1). He was also found guilty of receiving and possessing stolen goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2315 (Count 2), committing cargo theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 659 (Count 3), and obstructing justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3) (Count 4).
The evidence at trial revealed that Romero conspired with a group of individuals who had stolen a load of Toshiba Laptop computers worth approximately $2 million. Specifically, from July 7, 2010, through July 12, 2010, the defendants conspired to enrich themselves by stealing a shipment of goods, specifically 5,250 Toshiba laptop computers valued at $1,997,181.83, and then reselling these goods for profit. During this time period, the defendants unloaded the stolen laptop computers into warehouses that belonged to Leading Edge Custom and Illusion Auto Design in Hialeah Gardens, Florida. After these laptops were unloaded, the defendants, among other things, stored, concealed, transferred, and sold the stolen laptop computers. In addition to other assistance to avoid detection and protection of the stolen goods, when other officers of the Hialeah Gardens Police Department were about to raid the warehouse containing the stolen laptops, Romero made a phone call to his co-conspirators to warn them. As a result, evidence was destroyed.
Mr. Ferrer commends the investigative efforts of the FBI’s Cargo Theft Task Force in Miami. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI thank the Hialeah Gardens Police Department for their full cooperation throughout this investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.