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Charges: 2 Men Stole $1M In Hearing Aids

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – His plan was to fortify his retirement plan by stealing and selling $1 million of hearing aids from his previous employer, but a Bloomington man is now heading to court instead.

Thyvuth Lin, 56, is set to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court. Joining him is Laden Hot, 20, who is related to Lin and lives in the same Bloomington home. Hot did not show up for his first appearance last month and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Both men are charged with a single count of theft over $5,000.

According to the criminal complaint, Lin worked for Siemens Hearing Instrument Inc.’s Rexton division in Plymouth for 25 years. When he was given a six-month notice that he would be laid off on Aug. 31, 2012, he began stealing products from the factory.

The scheme came unglued when Costco began receiving calls, usually involving warranties about hearing aids. After checking serial numbers, Costco employees found that those aids had been sent back to Rexton and were not to be sold again, the complaint states. Customers said they had purchased the hearing aids on eBay.

A Rexton manager went on eBay and found that someone named “Johny20122012″ was selling numerous hearing aids for $150 to $500, items that are valued up to $2,000. Rexton also found that dozens of hearing aids, chargers and remotes were missing from the factory floor, and from returns.

A manager ordered hearing aids from Johny20122012 and the return address was to the Bloomington address of Laden Hot. A search of that home found a large number of hearing aids and components, as well as cash – it was all valued at more than $1 million.

Lin told police he stole the product when he learned he was being laid off, and planned to earn his living selling them. He said he knew nothing about computers, so he enlisted Hot to sell them on eBay.

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