Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
West Des Moines Man Convicted on Multiple Charges Involving Organized Retail Theft Scheme, Child Pornography and Witness
DES MOINES, IA – On March 1, 2016, a jury in the Southern District of Iowa convicted Bradley J. Prucha, 38, of West Des Moines, Iowa, on multiple counts from an organized retail theft scheme, child pornography, and witness tampering. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 23, 2016, before Chief United States District Court Judge John A. Jarvey
From around October 2013 through May 2015, Prucha led a scheme to purchase items from various retailers using UPC bar code stickers that Prucha created. Prucha used these stickers, and provided these stickers to others, to purchase items at significantly lower costs than their actual retail value. These purchases occurred at stores from Iowa to Florida, where Prucha maintained a residence, as well as states surrounding Iowa such as Nebraska and Illinois. Prucha returned the items to stores, or sold them using eBay, Craigslist, and to direct buyers, for close to their actual retail value. Some of the individuals Prucha used to perpetrate this scheme included minors. Prucha was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit interstate sale and receipt of stolen property and mail fraud, as well as six counts of mail fraud, for his role in this scheme.
Prucha was also convicted of three counts of sexual exploitation of minors for the production of child pornography. He was also convicted of possession of child pornography and distribution of Xanax, a schedule IV controlled substance, to persons under the age of 21. In 2015, Prucha produced three videos depicting two minor victims, approximately 16 years old at the time, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Prucha provided these and other minor victims with Xanax in an effort to facilitate sexual relations and the production of the child pornography. Prior to trial, Prucha stipulated that at the time of the production offenses he was required to register as a sex offender, which constitutes three separate offenses in addition to the counts of production of child pornography.
The jury also found Prucha guilty of four counts of witness tampering. These charges stemmed from Prucha’s attempts to have a former inmate at Polk County Jail offer money to the minor witnesses for them to provide false testimony at trial. Prucha faces sentences ranging from a mandatory minimum term of 35 years up to 50 years imprisonment.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Des Moines Resident Office, with assistance from the Asset Protection teams at various retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Toys R Us, and Best Buy. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.