Islander gets two year prison sentence for involvement in downtown Seattle theft-ring

A Mercer Island resident arrested nearly four years ago for running a theft-ring out of his downtown Seattle pawn shop was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday.

Martin D. Levy, 71, who owns a South end waterfront home, was sentenced by King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum to 24 months in prison, to be followed by one year of jail suspended on the condition that Levy complies with probation requirements for two years following release. Levy was also sentenced to pay about $86,000 in costs, much of which has already been paid. At the defense’s request, the judge also allowed Levy to report to prison next Monday due to his health concerns.

Levy owned the Liberty Jewelry and Loan at 116 Pike St. in Seattle before it was shut down and later sold in the months after his arrest. Police accused Levy, his daughter Leslie Calvo and her husband Richard Calvo of using street drug addicts to steal expensive glass artwork, clothing and golf equipment — among other items — to supply the pawn shop and to sell on eBay.

According to court documents, over $110,000 worth of items were sold on eBay from February 2004 to 2005 in association with Levy's pawn shop. Other police informants were directed by Levy to steal golf equipment, prepaid cell phones and other electronics, the documents state. The police investigation tracked numerous stolen items sold out of the pawn shop. The state recommended Levy serve 29 months in jail for the crimes he committed.

"There is only one explanation for the defendant's conduct: greed," the state's sentencing memo reads. "Defendant is someone who had the means to purchase luxuries. Defendant was a successful businessman who owned a profitable business, a house on Mercer island, a BMW, a Jaguar, a Mercedes Benz and a Cadillac. Defendant could afford the luxuries that he ultimately had others steal for him."

A police search of Levy's Island home in July 2005 uncovered hundreds of dollars worth of stolen glass art, Armani suits and other items. Under investigation since 2004, the three family members were charged in September 2006 with 31 counts of trafficking stolen property, possession of stolen property, solicitation of theft, leading organized crime, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and money laundering. As part of the plea bargain, Levy was not charged with leading organized crime.

The trio originally pleaded not guilty to all charges but changed their pleas to guilty on May 5. Levy pleaded guilty to six felonies and one misdemeanor. Levy's daughter is expected to be sentenced later this month and the state is seeking a 53 month prison sentence. Levy's son-in-law is scheduled for sentencing in August and the state is requesting a prison term of a year.

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