The gang reportedly filched about $5 million in goods
On Oct. 14, Queens, N.Y., jeweler Slavik Hayimov pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of a nationwide jewelry theft ring.
Hayimov, who also goes by Steve, will face 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 26, 2016.
Hayimov’s arrest stems from the 2012 bust of a Richmond, Va.–based South American gang, which robbed at least 15 jewelry salespeople in seven states. The gang’s three-year run reportedly nabbed around $5 million in goods.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, on at least 15 occasions Hayimov purchased the group’s goods at far less than market value, knowing they were stolen. The statement said that Hayimov did not know if violence was used to obtain them.
Yet, the robberies did involve violence, which was often quite serious. In most incidents, several men would suddenly appear as salespeople approached or entered their cars and threaten the victims at knifepoint. They would sometimes puncture the victim’s tires or take his or her cell phone to reduce the chance of apprehension.
The statement said that Hayimov paid for the stolen goods in cash and by making anonymous bank deposits into the gang’s accounts. The deposits were in amounts of less than $10,000 to disguise their nature, it adds.