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Federal judge slams conspirators in major fraud of Best Buy

Dec 22, 2010 Matt Roesly

On Monday, Chief U.S. District judge Michael Davis threw the book at two conspirators found guilty of defrauding Best Buy of $32.8 million, including a former seven-year employee. Former Best Buy vendor relations manager Robert Bossany and Russell Cole, the former owner of Chip Factory, which supplied the retail giant with replacement parts, were sentenced to seven-and-a-half-year and 15-year sentences, respectively, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Bossany, who eluded Best Buy's rigorous background screening, plead guilty to accepting bribes and payments from Chip Factory - which was shut down by the federal government in 2007 - for a four-year period. The bribes included $100,000 personal checks from Cole and his wife, co-founder Abby Cole - who was sentenced to three years probation. "I don’t think he expected that it’d go where it did,” Cole's attorney, Jeff Steinback, told the Chicago Tribune. “He took one small step, which led to another and then another. He then made a fortune and somehow rationalized that he’d actually earned it himself." Bossany and Cole manipulated online auctions for replacement parts and then overcharged Best Buy for the same items, including a computer screen they purchased for $69 and then sold to the retailer for $1,699.