Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman was joined by 11 other law enforcement officers from our area to announce the arrest of Damian Gasdaska, of Phillipsburg, N.J. in connection with what authorities are calling an extensive organized fraud ring that targeted area Target stores.
Gasdaska (a.k.a. Roberto "Bones" Rodriguez) is being charged with Organized Retail Theft, Corrupt Organizations, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Conspiracy and other related charges committed throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties between February and July 2011.
According to the DA, Gasdaska, along with Eugene Romano, of Center Valley, Pa., and other as yet unkown actors, conspired to defraud Target stores throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania in excess of $24,000 by creating UPC labels that identified certain merchandise for sale at Target.
Gasdaska and his accomplices would affix the UPC labels onto much higher-priced Target merchandise from the same brand (such as Dyson vacuums, Medela breast pumps, Bose speakers and special Lego sets), causing the cashier and cash register to unknowingly ring up each item at a small fraction of the actual retail price. The crew would then sell the items on eBay for slightly less than retail price.
Gasdaska and his crew allegedly used false identities to carry out their operation. They fraudulently opened an eBay store and transferred the profits to a PayPal account and then to a account, both of which were also opened using fake IDs. Gasdaska was caught laundering the proceeds from PNC Bank into a joint checking account he holds with his wife using Walmart Moneygram money orders.
According to the DA, the operation has collected more than $172,000 from eBay in profits from stolen merchandise since 2008.
A warrant has been issued for Romano’s arrest and Gasdaska will be arraigned before a District Justice Christopher J. Cerski, 8230 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA at 3:30 p.m. Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Latzer will prosecute on behalf of the Commonwealth.