IRS wants prisoner to forfeit cash, silver

JOHNSTOWN – The Internal Revenue Service is asking a U.S. district judge to force a Portage businessman serving a 72-month federal prison sentence for money laundering and fraud to forfeit thousands of dollars and 67 silver bars found in his home.

Gary Vaughn, who owned Gary’s Steals and Deals, was sentenced two years ago for conspiracy to commit money laundering and mail and fraud based on a 2009 indictment. He is serving time at the Fort Dix, N.J., Correctional Facility.

His prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervision.

Vaughn also agreed to forfeit $900,000 in currency to the federal government.

He is attempting to appeal his sentence, court records show, but the appeal is being opposed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Scranton.

Gary’s Steal and Deals was a pawn shop that, according to a sentencing memorandum filed on Vaughn’s behalf by his attorneys, “sold merchandise, rents videos, provides copy and fax services, and maintains a laundry and tanning facility.”

Those services are not what got Vaughn into trouble with the law.

He was accused of trafficking in stolen goods, purchasing items from addicts and selling the products on eBay and Amazon.

The IRS said that, subsequent to his conviction, another criminal investigation was started. According to a petition filed with the U.S. District Court in Johnstown, the investigation determined that from August 2012 to December 2013, Gary Vaughn, his wife, Tonia, and Gary’s Steals and Deals sold stolen merchandise over the Internet.

On Jan. 22, agents served a search warrant at the couple’s residence and found that the Vaughns had sold more than $100,000 worth of merchandise on eBay and Amazon “consistent with the items reported stolen in large quantities by local retail merchants.”

“During the period from at least Aug. 2012 through Dec., 2013, Gary Vaughn, Tonia Vaughn and Gary’s Steals and Deals sold thousands of stolen items and generated thousands of dollars of fraud proceeds,” the federal forfeiture petition stated.

The IRS is asking that $12,746 in cash and 67 silver bars confiscated in the January search be forfeited.

Vaughn, a native of Maine, moved to Pennsylvania when he was 15 years old and graduated in 1992 from Central Cambria High school, according to sentencing documents.

He then received an associate degree in business management from a Pittsburgh business school.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.