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Chicago man charged with stealing $9.5 million worth of interstate shipments

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A Chicago man is facing multiple federal charges related to stealing $9.5 million worth of items, including liquor and commercial-grade copper, from interstate shipments.

Aivaras Zigmantas, 39, was arrested on June 5 and has been charged with six counts of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud, and two counts of theft of interstate shipments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He is described as a Lithuanian national living in the Elk Grove Village, Illinois, area.

The cargo theft scheme allegedly orchestrated by Zigmantas took place between March 2020 and September 2023. Some of the goods stolen as part of the scheme include copper rod, copper cathode, and liquor.

According to the 22 page indictment document, Zigmantas created several false identities and represented himself as an employee of both real and fictitious motor carriers and brokers in order to induce shippers to release loads to him or his associates.

Some of the fake carriers created as part of the scheme include Best Global Express, Mato Trans, Martin Global, JRO Global, VD Transco, SMD Transco, and DMFL Express. Zigmantas obtained USDOT and MC numbers for these fictitious carriers, authorities allege.

Zigmantas is also accused of falsely identifying himself as a representative of several real trucking companies and submitting bids to transport loads on their behalf.

Officials say that Zigmantas also created several fictitious brokers, including Best Global Express, Total Freight Broker, Mat Broker, A B Broker, and others, and obtained USDOT and MC numbers for these companies.

By offering contracts and submitting bids to transport loads, Zigmantas reportedly
fraudulently induced other individuals and entities to release shipments of goods to him and his associates. The shipments would then be diverted from their intended destinations, loaded onto a different truck, and then transported to a warehouse or other location.

Officials also accuse Zigmantas of engaging in a check fraud scheme under false names including “Egidijus Stankus” and “Arturas Liaskevicius.”

According to the indictment, Zigmantas and his associates had planned to steal at least $13.5 million worth of shipments through the cargo theft scheme, but only managed to steal about $9.5 million worth of goods.

Zigmantas has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Agencies investigating the case include Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations.

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