Couple Confesses To Massive Shoplifting Scheme - On Dr. Phil

A California husband and wife admitted to travelling state-to-state and stealing toys from Target and the like, often bringing their children along for the crime.  Though police were already investigating the couple for stealing a single toy locally, their cross-border shenanigans  had so far gone unnoticed – until they told Dr. Phil all about them.

LA Times:  The nicely dressed couple said they had roamed several states as shoplifters, stealing mostly toys, selling them on the Internet and making as much as $1 million over seven years.

“I’m no lawyer or a cop,” said talk-show host Phil McGraw, his Texas drawl mixed with incredulity, “but isn’t that a federal crime?”

The wife paused a second and then said, “Yeah, it is.”

Last week, a federal grand jury in San Diego agreed, handing down an indictment against Matthew Allen Eaton, 34, and his wife, Laura, 26. And, just as Dr. Phil predicted, the transcript and video of last November’s show are central to the prosecution’s case.

The indictment, for moving stolen goods across state lines, says the Eatons sold more than $100,000 using EBay and PayPal over a 12-month period — a crime that prosecutors call “e-fencing.”

Read the rest of the story here

Strangely, the couple approached Dr. Phil in hopes that a little television therapy would cure them of their self-diagnosed kleptomania.  They’ll now likely be able to work on that addiction from a federal lock-up. 

“In 20 years of fraud cases, I’ve never seen anything like this: a taped confession before a national audience,” said a Secret Service agent who worked on the case. 


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