Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/23/ebay_fence/

US couple jailed for TV shoplifting brag

You fenced Lego on eBay? Do tell Dr Phil...

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 23rd March 2010 16:02 GMT

A California couple who ill-advisedly appeared on TV's Dr Phil show to explain that they'd make a cool $100,000 flogging shoplifted toys on eBay were yesterday dispatched to federal prison.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Matthew Eaton, 34, and missus Laura Eaton, 27, were already under police scrutiny for shoplifting before their TV outing, "but detectives did not suspect them of being large-scale thieves until they appeared on the show".

To be absolutely certain that cops had the necessary evidence, the San Marcos pair boasted on the show they netted $3,500 a week eBaying "hundreds of boxes of Lego toys", which Mr Eaton lifted while Mrs Eaton used the kids as a distraction.

The SF Chronicle adds: "The show also aired a video of the couple's three small children accompanying them on a three-day shoplifting binge."

It took the police a further year to move against the couple, but they were cuffed last September and yesterday pleaded guilty in US District Court to "conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines".

Judge Irma Gonzalez sentenced Matthew Eaton to 27 months, and his wife to a year.

Defence attorney Leila Morgan told Gonzalez the perps "contacted the Dr Phil show with the hope of getting help with their financial situation but came away with just three books signed by Phil McGraw, the host of the show".

The judge said of McGraw: "What a charlatan this man is." ®