Three Cree employees were charged with felonies for setting up a store front of their own and selling $98,000 in LED lights belonging to Cree, according to a criminal complaint by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office.
During the investigation, investigators also found that one of the employees’ brothers was selling drugs out of his home.
Saturino Avila,21, James Barker III,33, and Joshua Golden, 24, were charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s office on Monday, April 27 with conspiracy to commit a felony theft-movable property – greater than $10,000.
If convicted, Golden faces up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.
Avila was also charged with two felony counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 42 years in prison and/or fined up to $75,000.
Barker was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. If convicted, he faces up to 23 years, seven months in prison and/or fined up to $35,500.
Severo Villarreal, 27, of Racine, was charged with maintaining a drug trafficking place, possession of marijuana, and bail jumping. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 10 years three months in prison and/or fined up to $30,000.
A fifth person is also facing charges, but they haven’t been filed with the Racine County District Attorney’s Office yet.
According to a criminal complaint by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office, Avila, Barker and Golden worked for Sturtevant-based Cree Inc., which manufactures LED lights.
Officials with Cree told investigators with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department that almost $98,000 in unauthorized Cree products were sold between Aug. 1 and April 5 through an unauthorized distributor on an eBay store called “Forerealdeals2014.”
During the investigation, officials learned that the items has been delivered to Avila’s, Barker’s, and Golden’s home.
When law enforcement officials searched Avila’s home they found his whole family living there including his brothers, sisters and mother. They found marijuana, two digital scales, and sandwich bags, which belonged to Avila’s brother Villarreal.
Inside Avila’s bedroom they discovered two guns and two boxes of Cree LED light fixtures in the home.
Golden, who printed out FedEx shipping labels for the company, told investigators he printed out labels for Avila.
“Golden also admitted to stealing light bulbs for himself and not paying for them,” according to the criminal complaint.
The light fixtures were sold by Barker through a company called Cheeze State Enterprises. He advertised for his company “Forrealdeals2014” through his Facebook page. When investigators searched Barker’s parent’s home, his mother told police that the boxes were delivered to her home weekly and “she was very proud” of her son’s success. The home was wired for video surveillance, according to the criminal complaint.
Barker also spent time with his girlfriend, which is where investigators apprehended him as he was found hiding behind the garage. Inside the home, they found marijuana.
Because the business was doing so well, Barker also had rented a storefront at 2310 16th St, which is where investigators found seven more boxes of Cree LED light fixtures.
Avila and Barker are being held on a $15,000 cash bond, and Golden and Villarreal are being held on a $5,000 signature bond. All four men are expected to have preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. May 6.