When we think of eBay, we think of a great place to find things that are sometimes very hard to find and a great place to sell things that are valuable. For example, that American Girl doll you’ve had for 30 years might sell for a lot on eBay.

What we don’t think of when we think of eBay is the possibility that we might actually be buying stolen merchandise. Actually, allow us to rephrase. We never used to consider that we might be accidentally buying stolen merchandise when shopping on eBay, but that possibility will probably lurk in our minds for a very long time after this story.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas stated that a 63-year-old lady was part of a “multi-million dollar interstate theft ring involving merchandise sold on eBay.” 

Kim Richardson, a resident of Dallas, pled guilty to the crime on December 17, 2019. On October 1, 2020, her sentence was finally set: 54 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. She also has to pay $3.8 million.

Richardson admitted to being part of this interstate theft ring since 2000. As she traveled across the United States, she would steal items from stores. She disabled store security devices with shoplifting tolls and stashed the stolen items in a large black bag that she carried with her. Once she got home, she would sell the items on eBay.

Buyers sent a total of $3.8 million to Richardson through the years, thus the total amount she is required to pay. She had 4 PayPal accounts set up in order to receive payment from buyers. 

The investigation was conducted by the Secret Service and the FBI. She will be allowed to voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility at a date that has yet to be set.

The court decided that it would be “virtually impossible” to track down everyone who bought a stolen item from Richardson on eBay. 

Does it surprise you that Richardson was able to get away with selling so many stolen items on eBay for such a long time?