A federal appeals court panel has upheld the wire fraud convictions of Carrie Neighbors, an owner of the former Yellow House Store in Lawrence.
In a decision filed Thursday, three judges on the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found there was enough evidence for jurors to determine Neighbors knew she was buying stolen property in 2005 at her secondhand store, 1904 Mass., and later selling it on eBay, an Internet auction website.
A federal jury in Kansas City, Kan., convicted Neighbors, 50, of Lawrence, in 2010 on 16 counts including wire fraud and conspiracy, and U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia sentenced her to serve eight years in prison. In her appeal Neighbors had argued the jury was improperly instructed and she had gone to lengths to ask people who sold her items to assure they were not stolen, but the appellate judges said some witnesses testified they told Neighbors the items were stolen.
“There was sufficient evidence for the jury to infer that Ms. Neighbors knew she was buying stolen property but intentionally closed her eyes to this fact,” Senior Circuit Judge Wade Broby wrote in his opinion.
Neighbors, and her husband, Guy Neighbors, who ran a Yellow House Store in Topeka and faces a trial in February in the same case, have argued the government’s witnesses were not credible and accused prosecutors and police of corruption.