first_imgA Clark County judge on Wednesday authorized a warrant for the arrest of a former Meals on Wheels board member who vanished after being charged with operating a sham business buying and selling fraudulently-obtained gift cards.Fred J. Engh, 30, was released May 31 on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty to 55 charges. They include leading organized crime, three counts of money laundering, three counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property, six counts of second-degree possession of stolen property, six counts of first-degree attempted trafficking in stolen property, six counts of attempted money laundering, 28 counts of second-degree attempted possession of stolen property, two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.Clark County Superior Court’s Supervised Release program reported on July 12 that Engh had left the Portland metropolitan area without permission and could not be reached by phone. Supervised Release officers recommended that the judge revoke Engh’s release. A hearing to consider the matter was scheduled for Wednesday. When Engh didn’t show up, Judge John Nichols authorized a warrant for his arrest.Engh is accused of leading a network of shoplifters who swiped merchandise from stores and then returned the items for store credit on a gift card. Then, the shoplifters allegedly sold the gift cards to Engh for about 40 percent to 75 percent of face value, according to a probable cause affidavit. He is accused of purchasing the goods, knowing that they were stolen, and selling them from his home on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit.Court documents indicate the organized shoplifting ring operated in Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Clark County sheriff’s detectives began investigating Engh in February after meeting with multiple retailers who provided information that Engh was inquiring into the value of hundreds of gift cards.last_img