Crime

America’s Auction Channel Employee Arrested in Jewelry Theft Scheme

CrimeJan 06, 2022

America’s Auction Channel Employee Arrested in Jewelry Theft Scheme

The employee was in charge of jewelry intake and allegedly gave stolen items to her boyfriend to pawn.

An employee of America’s Auction Channel and her boyfriend have been charged in a scheme that involved the theft and pawning of $100,000 and $200,000 worth of jewelry from the network.
St. Petersburg, Fla.—Broadcasting out of Florida, America’s Auction Channel hosts live auctions, televised and live-streamed six days a week, offering everything from jewels and gemstones to coins and fossils to the highest bidder.

When jewelry worth between $100,000 and $200,000 was noted as missing, the authorities were called.

After an investigation, America’s Auction Channel employee Monique Bigelow, 36, and her boyfriend, Reco Wallace, 34, were arrested and charged by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office with “scheme to defraud.” 

Bigelow was in charge of receiving and intaking the company’s jewelry, as per court documents, and was allegedly misreporting the amounts and values to remove items from inventory and keep them for herself to pawn.

The alleged siphoning off of items went on for six months, beginning in May 2020 and continuing until November 2020.

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Court documents state that a manager was able to identify several pieces of jewelry that had been pawned as belonging to the company. Neither Bigelow nor Wallace was given permission to pawn the items, the manager said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office started the case by investigating Wallace after he had been recorded making “exorbitant amounts of pawn transaction,” as per court documents, including several “unique” pieces of jewelry.

Investigators spotted Wallace driving a 2007 Chevrolet Impala registered to Bigelow and later made the connection.

Wallace has been arrested several times for a variety of charges, including robbery and grand theft of a motor vehicle, as per sheriff’s office records.

The two were taken to the Pinellas County Jail on Dec. 27 on a charge of scheme to defraud. They are being held on $100,000 bonds.

America’s Auction Channel did not respond to National Jeweler’s request for comment on the case, but company founder and owner Jeremiah Hartman told the Tampa Bay Times that Bigelow was first hired in 2016 but then laid off, possibly by a department head, though he did not recall it being for an “atrocious” reason. She was rehired in the summer of 2018.

Another employee had lost his job after being falsely accused of stealing the missing jewelry, said Hartman, who urged fellow business owners to “trust, but verify.”

Hartman started the network in 2001 as a jewelry auction channel but later expanded its offerings.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.
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