The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 22, 2014

Feds raid Portage pawnshop

The Tribune-Democrat

PORTAGE — The Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday, with the assistance of the FBI, raided Gary’s Steals and Deals, a pawnshop on Main Street in Portage Borough.

Further information about the investigation could not be obtained Wednesday.

The  business buys and sells electronic items, furniture and small appliances, according to its Facebook page.

IRS and FBI agents raided the business in 2005, confiscating computers and merchandise.

The owner, Gary E. Vaughn, later pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Prosecutors said Vaughn hired drug-addicted “runners” to steal gear such as digital cameras and power tools from area retailers and then sold the items in his store and primarily on eBay.

In 2012, Vaughn was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a $900,000 forfeiture.

Tonia Vaughn, Vaughn’s wife who now is running the business, said she is not sure why the IRS and FBI were at her business.

She said she has been running the business legitimately. The business always gets the identification of the person from whom it is buying merchandise and if there are any suspicions, the store does not buy the items, she said.

Records of the model and serial numbers along with the price paid for the items are kept in a computer database so that it is readily accessible, she said.