Judge: Suspect in $7M shoplifting fraud to stay jailed

Branko Bogdanov, 58, of Northbrook, Ill.

CHICAGO - The head of a suburban family accused of shoplifting over $7 million in goods has been deemed a flight risk by a federal judge in Chicago and must remain behind bars as he awaits trial.

Branko Bogdanov, 58, his wife Lela Bogdanov, 52, and their daughter Julia Bogdanov, 34, are accused of stealing from retailers nationwide and selling the stolen goods for profit. They are charged with interstate transportation of stolen property. The family was in court Monday for a detention hearing.

The Bogdanovs' arrest was the result of a police investigation, aided by eBay and the stores they allegedly ripped off, which determined the trio had been running their scheme for the past decade. They sold their merchandise for a total of $4.2 million, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Renato Mariotti said that Branko Bogdanov - who claims to be $28,000 in debt - owns a $1.3 million Northbrook home and 12 vehicles, including a 2003 Chevy Corvette.

According to Mariotti, Branko Bogdanov illegally emigrated from the former Yugoslavia in 1973.

The judge didn't immediately rule on the detention of Lela and Julia Bogdanov. The defendants have yet to submit pleas in the case.