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Cross Lanes Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Operating Fencing Scheme

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  Nedeltcho Vladimirov, 53, a native of Bulgaria, was sentenced today to eight years and one month in federal prison for conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering.  A federal jury convicted Vladimirov after a three-day trial in July 2021 of one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.

Evidence at trial revealed that Vladimirov operated a fraudulent fencing operation - a scheme in which stolen goods were acquired in order to resell them for profit to an unsuspecting buyer. Vladimirov bought the items he resold at a small fraction of the retail cost from individuals addicted to heroin, known in the fencing scheme as “boosters.” Vladimirov met the “boosters” at a gas station in Cross Lanes where he bought new items such as high end vacuum cleaners, tools and other items that he later resold on his eBay account.  The investigation revealed that Vladimirov sold over 7,000 items on his eBay account and had over $594,000 in sales over a three-year period. The “boosters” used the cash provided by Vladimirov for the stolen items to support their drug habits. A federal search warrant executed at Vladimirov’s residence by the United States Secret Service on February 10, 2020, revealed that he had set up cleaning stations used to  remove security devices and labels from boxes so that the stolen items could not be traced.

“Shutting down this fencing operation and bringing Vladimirov to justice was a significant team effort,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “I cannot overstate the value of the collaboration between our law enforcement partners and the Organized Retail Crime (ORC) investigators from the stores victimized in this fencing scheme.  I applaud the entire team for their efforts to hold Vladimirov accountable and to protect both retailers and consumers from further harm.”

“The Secret Service is dedicated to protecting our nation’s financial institutions and corporations that operate within the Southern District of West Virginia,” said United States Secret Service Resident Agent in Charge Robert Pyle.  “I appreciate our law enforcement partners at the South Charleston Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations, whose work helped secure this successful outcome.  Our partnership with the Organized Retail Crime (ORC) investigators from Kroger, Target and CVS Pharmacy was instrumental in this case as well.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of West Virginia, federal, state and local law enforcement, other retailers, and our loss prevention specialist who helped bring Mr. Vladimirov to justice,” said Corporate Affairs Manager James McNees, Mid-Atlantic Division, The Kroger Company.  “Partnerships like these are integral to the vitality of our operations and safety of our customers.” 

The United States Secret Service, the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the South Charleston Police Department, as well as the Organized Retail Crimes (ORC) investigators from Kroger, CVS Pharmacy and Target Corporation.

United States District Judge Irene C. Berger imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew J. Tessman and Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution.   

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00054.