A man who targeted retail stores throughout eastern Iowa, including with Vinton, has been sentenced in federal court for one count of wire fraud.

But before he turns himself in to begin serving time on that federal charge, he will have to appear in court in Vinton to face a similar charge.

Jeremy J. Fishnick, 27, of Lancaster, Wis., pleaded guilty July 1, in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, admitting between at least July 2012 and November 20, 2012, he used home computer equipment and a printer to create fraudulent UPC codes on adhesive labels. He then entered retail stores and covered real UPC codes on higher-priced models of certain products, using the fraudulent UPC codes he created. In so doing, Fishnick caused the items to reflect substantially lower prices when electronically scanned at checkout.Fishnick admitted fraudulently purchasing products from stores in Dubuque, Maquoketa, Anamosa, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Monticello, and Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Fishnick also admitted his scheme caused a loss to retailers of more than $30,000. Fishnick admitted that he sold or attempted to sell a substantial portion of the fraudulently-obtained items over the Internet.

In one incident, Fishnick purchased a welding device with a price tag of $849.99 for just $149.99.

Vinton case

Fishnick was not always successful, however.

"He tried it at Theisen's here in Vinton but didn't get it accomplished," said Vinton Police Chief Jeff Tilson.

According to court records, Fishnick went to Theisen's on Nov. 3, 2012. He switched price tags on one item and brought a fake UPC code to place on another item, in an attempt to defraud the store of more than $3,000 in merchandise. However, his credit card was denied, and he did not leave the store with those items.

Fishnick is charged with second degree fraudulent practices; his trial is scheduled for Nov. 12 -- the day before he will begin serving his federal sentence.

Fishnick was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade, to 14 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. A special assessment of $100 was imposed, and he was ordered to make $33,632.74 in restitution to victim retailers. The restitution amount included $9,912.75 to one retailer as compensation for costs incurred in investigating Fishnick’s offense. There is no parole in the federal system.

Fishnick was released on bond and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on Nov. 13.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated in Iowa by the Dubuque, Maquoketa, Anamosa, Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Vinton police departments and in Wisconsin by the Lancaster and Prairie Du Chien police departments.

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