Breaking News in the Industry: March 26, 2018

Man sentenced to prison for 41 years for aggravated identity theft, fraud charges

A Jacksonville, Florida, man has been sentenced to federal prison for aggravated identity theft and fraud charges, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Officials with the US attorney’s office said Anthony Johnson, 53, was sentenced to 41 years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, false representation of a Social Security number, mail fraud and violating his federal supervised release. Johnson was arrested on July 11, 2016, for violating his federal supervised release. Officials said he was subsequently indicted on fraud charges on Aug. 10, 2016. Johnson has remained in federal custody since his arrest, officials said. On Oct. 19, 2017, a federal jury found Johnson guilty of nine counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of bank fraud, seven counts of false representation of a Social Security number and three counts of mail fraud, according to the US attorney’s office. Officials said that, beginning in 2014, Johnson falsely claimed to be a former member of the US Army and used the Social Security numbers of two victims, including a lawyer from Seattle, to open a bank account and to obtain a loan and multiple credit cards from the United Services Automobile Association in the names of his victims, according to evidence presented at trial. After obtaining multiple credit card convenience checks, officials said Johnson withdrew thousands of dollars from the USAA bank account for his own use. After obtaining a genuine Florida driver’s license, using the identity of a doctor from Texas, Johnson obtained two fraudulent loans totaling more than $148,000 from Bankers Healthcare Group, LLC, officials said. Johnson had the money from BHG wired to a TD Bank business account in the name of a false medical data company he incorporated in Florida.

Johnson, using the same identity, then obtained additional loans from Springleaf Financial Services and had the proceeds wired to the bank account he had set up for the false medical data company, officials said. Johnson then set up a personal bank account at TD Bank in the victim’s name and began funneling money from the business account to the personal account, officials said. Thereafter, Johnson began making large cash withdrawals to fund his purchase of luxury items, including a $70,000 car, according to the US attorney’s office. During this time, officials said Johnson used the identity of a fourth victim to obtain an apartment and then obtained another genuine Florida drivers license using the identity of a fifth victim. During the summer of 2016, using proceeds from his alleged criminal activity, Johnson left the US in violation of the federal supervised release that was imposed after a previous federal conviction for fraud and identity theft-related charges, officials said. While on the trip, Johnson stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, purchased high-end personal items and spent more than $4,000 while visiting a club/restaurant, according to the US attorney’s office. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in coordination with the US Marshals Service, arrested Johnson on July 11, 2016, at Orlando International Airport, for violating the terms of his supervised release, officials said. “The US Secret Service is committed to investigating these types of fraud investigations with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, due to the impact on the US financial system and our local community,” said Neil Melofchik, special agent in charge of the US Secret Service Jacksonville Field Office. Officials said the court also ordered Johnson to pay restitution to the multiple victims he defrauded.   [Source: News4JAX]

Man charged in multiple robberies after stolen items found

A judge set bail at $150,000 on Saturday for a South Side Chicago man who is accused of stealing smartphones from several people, prosecutors said. Teron Ceazer, 24, of the 7200 block of South Eberhart Avenue, was charged with three counts of robbery and one count of theft after he was identified as the person who robbed a woman on a CTA platform. a Police arrested Ceazer just after 2 a.m. Friday in the 200 block of North State Street after the 27-year-old woman called police saying a man in a black and yellow jacket snatched the smartphone from her hands and fled, according to his arrest report. When police arrested him a block away and searched his backpack, they found the victim’s Samsung Galaxy S8 and five other cellphones, the report stated. In court, prosecutors described how Ceazer snatched smartphones from four unwitting victims between Wednesday and Friday. Three of the thefts occurred in the Loop and one occurred on the South Side, just over a mile from his home. In each case he escaped with the phones, including an Apple iPhone X, which can retail when new for about $1,000. Judge John F. Lyke Jr. ordered Ceazar held on $150,000 bail and barred him from contacting the victims. Court records show Ceazer was convicted in March 2015 of felony theft, and he was sentenced to one year in prison.   [Source: Chicago Tribune]

UPS Employee Caught Stealing Over $1,000 Worth Of Sneakers

A UPS employee in Secaucus, New Jersey, was reportedly caught stealing more than $1,100 worth of sneakers directly from the company’s facility, according to a report by NJ.com.  41-year old Halif Bryant of Jersey City, New Jersey was reportedly arrested late last week and charged with theft, but was released shortly after being processed.  According to NJ.com, Bryant had stolen three pairs of sneakers, valued at over $1,100, although it’s unclear exactly what kind of shoes they were. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a story like this. A Maryland truck driver pleaded guilty to stealing over $19,000 worth of New Balances last year after a co-worker allegedly offered him $250 to pull of the heist. Also last year, a Fed Ex employee was accused of stealing a Yeezy Boost 350 delivery, rather than dropping the box off at its destination. The allegations called into question Adidas’ transparent shipping methods, which have the style code listed on the outside of the box, allowing the drivers to know exactly what sneakers are being shipped. [Source: HNHH]

Clerk’s fight with armed shoplifting suspect caught on camera [Viral Video]

A clerk who said he was fed up with a repeat shoplifter at an Everett, Washington, convenience store ended up being stabbed in the head during an altercation that was caught on camera. It happened at an AM PM store on 128th Street Southwest Thursday morning.  The clerk told KIRO 7 that the suspect has shoplifted at the store on numerous other occasions but when he saw the man stealing on Thursday, he was fed up and wanted to stop him and call police. Surveillance video obtained by KIRO 7 shows a suspect with a backpack and wearing a blue baseball cap enter the store, grab doughnuts and a fountain drink before walking out without paying. The clerk ran out of the store and yelled at the man to come back and pay, but the man kept going.  When the clerk caught up with the suspect, he grabbed the suspect’s backpack that was believed to contain stolen items and then walked back into the store to call police. As the clerk is making the call, the suspect walked back into the store and began to attack the clerk behind the counter in an attempt to get his backpack back. Video shows the suspect wielding some kind of knife as the two struggled to get control of the backpack. The suspect eventually gave up when the clerk grabbed a stick from behind the counter and chased the man out of the store. The clerk has a minor cut on his head and will be OK. The whole altercation happened in front of customers. The clerk was able to hold on to the suspect’s backpack and gave it to sheriffs deputies, who are still looking for the suspect. [Source: KIRO7 News]

Retailers speak out against China trade sanctions

A host of US retailers on Monday sent a letter to the White House warning that American consumers will pay more for the goods they sell if the trade sanctions President Trump has threatened against China are implemented. A US president has wide discretion to retaliate against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act, including bans on investments and tariffs on Chinese goods. The Trump administration is reportedly mulling action “within days” and could impose more than $60 billion in tariffs, per Reuters. Among the 25 signers of the letter are: Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Costco, Dollar Tree, Gap, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Ikea North America, Macy’s, Sears Holdings, Target, and Walmart.  [Source: RetailDIVE]

Can you ID theft suspects from an Ohio AT&T store?

Beavercreek, Ohio, police took to social media to help identify two theft suspects who make off with more than $4,000 in merchandise from an AT&T store.
The two men entered the store at approximately 6:15 p.m. March 21 and stole iPhones and notepads, according to a Facebook post.Both suspects are described as men in their early 20s wearing black hooded sweatshirts. One was wearing black jeans as well, and the second man had a hoodie with the letters “LB” on the back who also was wearing red Jordan shoes and khakis, police said. Anyone with information is urged to contact detective John Bondy at 937-427-5520. [Source: Dayton Daily News]

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