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Sean D. Reyes
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Pawn Shop Owners Enter Plea Agreements to Felony Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2019


BIG DOG PAWN & JEWELRY OWNERS ENTER PLEA AGREEMENTS TO FELONY CHARGES


SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Utah Attorney General’s Office announced that the principal owners of Big Dog Pawn & Jewelry of Murray, Inc., have entered plea agreements to felony charges after investigations into the pawn shop revealed unlawful activity, including money laundering and receiving stolen property.

On June 19, 2018, Special Agents from the Utah Attorney General’s Office served search warrants on seven different pawn shops, one being Big Dog Pawn & Jewelry, and seized several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of new-in-the-box merchandise alleged to be stolen from various local retailers.

Monte McKee, 68, and Kelli Carpenter, 43, were charged with felony Pattern of Unlawful Activity, Money Laundering, and several Misdemeanor counts of Receiving Stolen Property. On February 8th, both defendants entered a Plea in Abeyance to the felony Pattern of Unlawful Activity charge and the remaining counts were dismissed. No judgment of convictions will be entered pending good behavior probation.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, both defendants agree not to be involved in the pawn industry in the future, and Big Dog Pawn & Jewelry, Inc., which is no longer in business, will be dissolved.

Additionally, the defendants waived any claim to the seized property. Retailers who believe they were victims of retail theft and whose merchandise may have been pawned at that location are encouraged to file claims with the court in Third District Court case no. 180906356.

In response to this investigation, Representative Eric K. Hutchings introduced HB 394 Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Amendments in the 2019 Legislative Session on February 21, 2019. This bill clarifies definitions regarding pawn shops, clarifies that a pawn or secondhand merchandise dealer may not accept certain property, improves the central database, limits the amount of transactions between a pawnbroker and an individual, and provides online training of shops and law enforcement.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies and local officers who assisted in serving the warrants and evidence seizures. Special thanks are offered to Supervisory Special Agents Chris Walden and James Russell of the Utah Attorney General’s Office and to Detective Parsons Metzkow of the Unified Police Department.

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Notes:

  1. More background and information on HB 394 Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Amendments: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/HB-394-Pawnshop-Amendments.pdf
  2. Monte McKee’s case number is 181911855 in the Third District Court.
  3. Kelli Carpenter’s case number is 181911857 in the Third District Court.
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