NYC pawnshop owner indicted in massive fencing scheme: AG Letitia James – Rubinov

Pawn shop owner Roni Rubinov is accused of using his store, New Liberty Loans, to transport robbed merchandise. Daniel William McKnight

A pawn shop owner who allegedly ran a fencing operation for hundreds of thousands of stolen New York City merch and even tried to open up a storefront with the boosted goods was indicted Thursday, officials said.

The alleged ringleader of the operation, Roni Rubinov, recruited nearly three dozen people as “boosters” to steal from high-end city stores, paying them pennies on the dollar and flipping the goods for large profits online, state Attorney General Letitia James announced.

He also paid $1 to $2 for cosmetics and other pharmaceuticals stolen from drug stores, such as Duane Reade, according to the indictment, unsealed in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday.

Over a three-year span, between January 2017 and January 2020, Rubinov had acquired more than $3.8 million in stolen property and turned that into nearly $.14 million in profits from his online and storefront sales, the indictment says.

He would allegedly direct his employees to move the stolen merch from his Midtown Offices or his Diamond District pawn shop, New Liberty Loans Pawn Shop at 67 W. 47th Street, to his “stash house” in Queens, according to the court papers.

Pawn shop owner Roni Rubinov (center with shirt over his face) allegedly operated a ring to steal goods and sell them online.
Steven Hirsch

Business was so good, the Queens pawn shop owner even signed a lease in December 2019 on a large warehouse space in Fresh Meadows where he planned to open a “department store” of snatched goods, the indictment says.

He also had his boosters steal hundreds of thousands in various gift cards from stores, authorities said.

Mayor Eric Adams hailed the bust as a win for businesses affected by the rise in thefts during the pandemic that has caused NYC storefronts to close or consider.

Pawn shop owner Roni Rubinov allegedly seized $3.8 million in stolen goods during a three-year span from 2017 to 2020.
Daniel William McKnight

“This case is so important because what it does it highlights that this is just not shoplifting, it’s organized crime,” he said.

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