A Midvale pawn shop owner accused of buying and selling thousands of dollars in stolen gift cards and tools was ordered Friday to pay more than $11,000 in restitution and remain out of trouble for two years.
Noel W. Hicks, 48, entered a guilty plea in abeyance Friday to a second-degree felony charge of pattern of unlawful activity, for which he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
But if Hicks pays the full restitution amount of $11,345 by August, and stays out of trouble with the law for two years, his case will be dismissed in 2015.
Hicks was initially charged in 3rd District Court with felony counts of pattern of unlawful activity and money laundering for allegedly selling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in gift cards and power tools on eBay from March 2010 to January 2012, court records state.
According to charging documents, Hicks and three of his employees at Fast Cash Pawn Inc. — located at 6905 S. State St. in Midvale — had purchased stolen property and gift cards from a small number of sellers in 2011 but did not record the transactions in the required statewide pawn database.
Then, court documents state, the group pawned the items or exchanged them for store gift cards at the same retailers. Most of the stolen items and gift cards were allegedly pawned at Fast Cash Pawn, but a detective who tracked the case only saw a few of the pawned items recorded by the shop, officials said. In all, Fast Cash purchased 2,567 gift cards from March to November 2011, authorities allege. Only 22 of these sales were reported in the state’s database.
Along with gift cards, Fast Cash Pawn also allegedly bought thousands of dollars worth of stolen tools but only reported one of them. Between May and November 2011 the shop allegedly bought 38 chain saws from one person. Each new saw — believed stolen from local home improvement stores — ranged in value from $300 to $390.
Charges were dismissed late last year against all three of Hicks’s employees.