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Illinois couple sentenced after defrauding Best Buy out of $32.8 million

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MINNEAPOLIS -- An Illinois couple convicted of defrauding Best Buy out of more than $32.8 million and failing to pay taxes on their fraudulent gains has been sentenced.

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Prosecutors alleged that Russell and Abby Cole of Deerfield, Ill. systematically overbilled the Richfield-based electronics retailer for four years through an online auction program.

Russell Cole, president of Chip Factory, received a 15-year sentence Monday. Abby Cole received three years' probation after telling the judge she needed to care for two of her children and aging mother.

The Star Tribune reports that Cole's co-conspirator, fired Best Buy vendor relations manager Robert Bossany received 7 1/2 years. He got credit for working with investigators to record conversations with Cole and his wife.

Best Buy said it's made changes to ensure this doesn't happen again.

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