Fence (criminal)

In law enforcement, a fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale in a (usually) legitimate market. As a verb, the word describes the behavior of the thief in the transaction: "The burglar fenced the radio". This sense of the term came from thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from notion of such transactions taking place under defense of secrecy [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fence "Online Etymology Dictionary"] ] .

The fence is able to make a significant profit because he is able to pay thieves a very low price for stolen goods; thieves agree to this because their alternatives (such as directly soliciting passersby on a crowded street, or selling the goods on eBay or at a flea market) may present a greater risk of the thief being caught, and will take more time. The fence then disguises the stolen nature of the goods, if possible, and is then able to sell them at or near the usual wholesale price.

Depending on the stolen item, the fence may attempt to remove, deface, or replace serial numbers on the stolen item before reselling it.

Fencing is illegal almost everywhere, usually under a similar rationale as in the United States, where receipt of stolen property is a federal crime. Occasionally police will temporarily set up a fencing operation in order to let the word spread that a good fence is available in the area, and then trap a number of thieves.

Pawnbrokers have often been associated with fencing, though in many jurisdictions, government ID must be shown in order to pawn an item. In any event, pawnbrokers vigorously resist this characterization.

Money laundering could be described as the fencing of currency.

E-fencing

E-fencing is the sale of stolen or shoplifted items on the internet.

An eBay spokesman has claimed, "Perhaps the dumbest place to try to fence stolen materials is on eBay," and news agencies have reported incidents of the police purchasing stolen property directly from thieves, leading to their capture. However, one California prosecutor differs with this, saying, "There's no need for the pawnbroker. Internet auctions have suddenly become a really easy way to fence stuff". [http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/3443962.htm]

According to CNBC in January 2007 [ [http://www.investortrip.com/how-to-solve-ebays-efencing-problem/ Efencing Theft Problems on eBay ] ] , e-fencing is a $37 billion business. Retailers have been complaining about the online sale of their stolen goods but the online auction industry has taken the stance that retailers need to do more policing instead. eBay's Vice President of Trust & Safety Rob Chesnut stated '..It's the job of these major retailers to prevent criminals from lifting their products.'

References

ee also

* Handling


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fence (disambiguation) — A fence is a structure to restrict or prevent movement. It may also refer to:* Fence (criminal), a person who deals in the purchase and sale of stolen property * Fence (woodworking), a portion of a tool used as a guide * Fence Collective, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Criminal damage in English law — A smashed shop window – photographed on 7 May 2005 In English law, causing criminal damage was originally a common law offence. The offence was largely concerned with the protection of dwellings and the food supply, and few sanctions were imposed …   Wikipedia

  • White Fence — Varrio White Fence X3 graffiti In Los Angeles, United States Years active 1929–present Territory East Los Angeles …   Wikipedia

  • Receipt of stolen property — is a type of crime in the legal code of the United States. It is a federal crime under UnitedStatesCode|18|2315 to knowingly receive, conceal, or dispose of stolen property with a value at least $5,000 that is part of interstate commerce (i.e.,… …   Wikipedia

  • Michael I. Monus — Michael I. Mickey Monus (born in 1947[1]) is the former president of Phar Mor, Inc., a defunct discount drug chain that established a strong national presence before declaring bankruptcy in the early 1990s.[2] Accused of perpetrating a $350… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Border Patrol — For other uses of Border Patrol , see Border Patrol (disambiguation). United States Border Patrol Common name Border Patrol Abbreviation USBP …   Wikipedia

  • EVIDENCE — Non Evidentiary Proceedings in Biblical Law The revelation of divine law is found not only in legislation but also in adjudication in particular cases (cf. Lev. 24:12–13; Num. 15:32–34; 27:1–8; Deut. 1:17), whether through Moses or judges or… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Human rights in Israel — have been evaluated by various non governmental organizations and individuals, often in relation to the ongoing Arab Israeli conflict and the Israeli Palestinian conflict. When analyzing Israel s human rights records, most observers agree that it …   Wikipedia

  • Terrorism and counter-terrorism in Kazakhstan — The threat of terrorism in Kazakhstan plays an increasingly important role in Kazakhstan s relations with the United States which in 2006 were at an all time high.[1] Kazakhstan has taken Uzbekistan s place as the favored partner in Central Asia… …   Wikipedia

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.