Breaking News in the Industry: November 9, 2017

Three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting

Three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting while on a tour of China, local police said Wednesday. Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were detained at the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, about 100 miles southwest of Shanghai, on Tuesday according to ESPN, which broke the story. Ball is the younger brother of NBA rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the son of LaVar Ball, outspoken former player and founder of sportswear company Big Baller Brand. The arrests came a day ahead of President Donald Trump’s arrival in China on a visit, where he is expected to meet President Xi Jinping.

A spokeswoman for the police bureau of Hangzhou told NBC News that three players were being detained and would be released or charged within 48 hours of their arrest. ESPN reported the players were released on police bail. The UCLA team is in China for a season-opening game against Georgia Tech as part of the Pac-12 college sports conference. LaVar Ball, who is also in China for the Nov. 10 opening of a pop-up store in Shanghai, and for his upcoming Facebook Watch reality show “Ball in the Family,” gave few details to reporters about his son’s arrest. “He’ll be fine,” Ball told ESPN. “Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.” A spokesman for the Hangzhou Hyatt said the players were arrested at the hotel and were still registered as guests Wednesday.  [Source: NBC News]

LP Worldwide: Counterfeit goods worth hundreds of millions seized by Dubai Police

More than Dh280 million ($76M USD) worth of fake goods were taken off the streets of Dubai this year as the authorities sought to tackle a global trade that damages legitimate businesses and fuels organized crime and terrorism. From knock-off luxury bags from Louis Vuitton and Burberry to cheap unauthorized car parts that could cause accidents, sellers were targeted in a large number of raids and seizures. Weight loss drugs and anti-aging treatments were also commonly faked. Once largely sold in the bustling streets of Karama, many are now promoted via social media accounts and WhatsApp and delivered to tourists’ and residents’ hotels and homes.

The value of the seizures was revealed at the Regional Intellectual Property Crime Conference on Tuesday, which aims to strengthen cooperation among international law enforcement. A total of 212 trademark infringement cases and 11 copyright cases were reported in Dubai in 2017, compared to 230 trademark infringement cases and 16 copyright the previous year. “We work closely with government departments and international authorities to track down and arrest those involved in smuggling counterfeit products,” said Mohammed Lootah, chief executive of commercial compliance and consumer protection at Dubai Economic Department (DED), which overseas the sale of goods in the emirate.  [Source: The National]

Long Island woman pleads guilty to operating credit card fraud scheme

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Lisa Reid, 45, of Amityville, New York, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from a credit card fraud scheme. According to court documents and statements made in court, between February 2015 and January 2017, Reid was involved in a scheme to defraud credit card companies and their customers by fraudulently taking over credit card accounts and, using those accounts, making unauthorized purchases from high-end retailers. Specifically, Reid used publicly available information to obtain phone numbers for wealthy senior citizens.  She then called her victims pretending to be a representative of a credit card company and claiming that the company needed information about the victim’s account.  The victims then provided Reid with their account information, including credit card numbers and passwords.  Reid then contacted the credit card company, pretending to be the victim.

After providing all of the requested security information, she added a new phone number and address to the account.  The address was typically an abandoned or foreclosed property near her home in New York.  Reid then used the compromised credit card accounts to order merchandise from high-end retailers and had the merchandise shipped to an address that she had previously added to the credit card account.  After Reid, or a “runner,” retrieved the merchandise, she sold it at a pawnshop or to another individual. Through this scheme, Reid stole the identities of more than 50 individuals and used their credit card information to purchase more than $1 million in merchandise.  Victim credit card companies successfully thwarted approximately $3.8 million worth of Reid’s attempted purchases. Reid pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of aggravated identity theft, an offense that carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of two years.  A sentencing date has not been scheduled. Reid has been detained since her arrest on February 5, 2017.  [Source: Department of Justice]

Cyber Monday will be biggest online shopping day ever

Online sales are expected to go through the roof on Cyber Monday, growing 16.5% over last year. That’s according to a report from Adobe, which predicts that Cyber Monday will generate $6.6 billion in sales, making it the largest online shopping day in history. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day are expected to increase 15% to $2.8 billion. Adobe expects that total online sales for the holiday season will be $107.4 billion, an increase of 13.8%. In-store retail is expected to grow 10%. Large retailers (more than $100 million in annual revenue) will see higher order values and desktop conversion rates than smaller retailers (less than $10 million in annual revenue), according to the report, which is based on data from Adobe Analytics. But retailers are expected to have the mobile advantage with a higher average conversion rate of 1.9% by attracting more shoppers with an intent to buy. “This year’s record-breaking online holiday shopping season is built on the strength of the big players,” said Mickey Mericle, VP, marketing and insights at Adobe. “We predict the biggest retailers with wide selections, easy shopping experiences and free shipping, to drive online holiday growth this year. Still, there is opportunity for savvy small retailers to win, specifically with mobile experiences.”
The sharpest discounts are expected to occur on Black Friday, with televisions (23.7%), tablets (23.6%), jewelry (12%) and appliances (17.7%) showing the largest price decreases.  [Source: Chain Store Age]

Florida woman steals $1,800 worth of electronics using self-checkout

A Florida woman was arrested after a deputy said she bought over $1,800 worth of electronics while paying only $3.70 at a Walmart self-checkout on Monday. Cheyenne Amber West, a 25-year-old of Fort Pierce was arrested in the November 6 incident. She was charged with felony grand theft and felony shoplifting, according to reports. West’s crime was uncovered after a loss prevention associate at the Walmart told a deputy he saw West and another woman select a computer, video game controllers, and other merchandise from the electronics department. The women then covered the barcodes of the more expensive items from merchandise in the clearance department and took them to the self-checkout area. They paid a total of $3.70, which was $1,821 less than what should have been paid, according to an affidavit. After West’s crime was discovered, she said she was only trying to get presents for her family. “I am just trying to get gifts for my son that I cannot afford. The computer is for my husband. Since he just got me a Coach purse, I figured he deserved something nice, as well,” West told a deputy, according to the affidavit. West was being held at the Indian River County Jail according to WKYC, where her bail was set at $3,000. But West was released on bond, Tuesday evening the Miami Herald reported. The other woman involved in the incident was not charged. Police from the Indian River County Sheriff Office did not indicate why the other woman was not charged. [Source: The Epoch Times]

Three women stole items from store, then fled police and crashed car

Three women are facing charges in connection with a theft, after which they allegedly fled from police before crashing their car in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The three arrested have been identified as Cherisse Todd, of North Ringgold Street in Philadelphia; Jennifer Vinisha Teagues, of Forrest Avenue in Philadelphia; and Zakia Nelson of North 10th Street in Philadelphia. The incident began Nov. 3 shortly before 2 p.m. when an officer on traffic duty spotted a gold Buick approaching his patrol car. The vehicle changed lanes without signaling so the officer ran the tags. The tags came up as belonging to Todd, but they were expired. Todd’s license also came back to police as having expired and also suspended. The officer attempted a stop the car. The driver pulled over, but when the officer exited his car, the driver sped away at a high rate of speed. The officer was told not to chase after the car since it was only a traffic-related offenses.  A short time later however, the officer was flagged down and told a crash had just occurred.  When police arrived they spotted a GMC on the side of the road and a gold Buick overturned. Todd and Teagues were at the car. Inside the car were bags from the Home Goods store so police checked with the store and confirmed that a theft had just occurred. Nelson, the third suspect, was then apprehended nearby. A witness in the other car told police she spotted the overturned car and then saw the women exit it and throw a plastic bag into the nearby tree line. The witness then told police Nelson got into her car and told her, “Take me to my house.” Nelson then exited the car.

Radnor Police Deputy Superintendent Andrew Block, at the scene, said two of the women were taken to the hospital for evaluation; the driver of the second car had minor injuries and was taken to Paoli Hospital by Radnor Fire Company ambulance. After the three women were in police custody, officers checked back with the Home Goods security. They reported having video footage of Nelson and Todd loading up a cart with high-end bed sheets and then exiting the store without paying for them. Following a search of the car, police also reported finding a small bag of marijuana. Todd was charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property, theft and related offenses. Nelson was charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property, theft, fleeing or attempting to elude police and attempted robbery of a motor vehicle. Teagues was charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property and theft.  [Source: Daily Times News]

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