Breaking News in the Industry: September 19, 2017

shoplifting laws

Reno man indicted for $3.5M PayPal fraud scheme

A Reno man made his initial appearance in federal court for allegedly engaging in a $3.5 million fraud scheme involving more than 8,000 fraudulent PayPal credit accounts, bank accounts, and prepaid credit and debit card accounts he created with stolen identities. 46-year-old Kenneth Gilbert Gibson was indicted on ten counts of wire fraud; three counts of mail fraud; ten counts of bank fraud; six counts of access device fraud; and six counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to allegations made in the indictment, between 2012 and 2017, Gibson allegedly obtained the identities of multiple victims and used those victims’ identities to open unauthorized online accounts, credit accounts, bank accounts, and prepaid debit and credit card accounts to obtain money and property. In total, he allegedly opened more than 8,000 fraudulent and unauthorized accounts with PayPal, an online payment company, using the stolen identities. He then allegedly used those fraudulent and unauthorized accounts to transfer, deposit, and send about $3.5 million to himself via hard copy checks and through electronic transactions to about 500 bank accounts and pre-paid debit cards owned and under his control. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the wire fraud and mail fraud counts, a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine for the bank fraud counts, a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the access device fraud counts, and a maximum penalty of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft counts. Gibson also faces a period of supervised release and a criminal forfeiture money judgment.  The case is being jointly investigated by a Task Force consisting of the FBI, United States Secret Service, IRS, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Reno Police Department. [Source: KOLO8 News Now]

Lottery employee gets 25 years in prison for rigging jackpots

After rigging the lottery to collect jackpots in numerous states, a former lottery employee has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. An Iowa judge recently slapped Eddie Tipton, former security director of the Multistate Lottery Association, with the court’s maximum sentence. In June, Tipton pleaded guilty to ongoing criminal conduct for a scheme that involved seven lottery tickets in five different states. He confessed to rigging computer codes to produce winning numbers, which resulted in Tipton and his co-conspirators gaining millions of dollars. “I certainly regret my actions,” Tipton said to the court. “It’s difficult even saying that with all the people that I know behind me that I hurt.” Tipton will pay nearly $2.2 million in restitution to four states’ lottery systems: $1.1 million to the Colorado lottery, $644,000 to the Oklahoma lottery, $391,000 to the Wisconsin lottery, and $30,000 to the Kansas lottery. The case’s prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand, said he plans to seize “significant amounts of restitution” from Tipton and his two accomplices, Tipton’s brother and former Texas judge Tommy Tipton and friend Robert Rhodes.

Tipton, who lives in Texas, bought lottery tickets in various states and selected numbers he knew would win, after he designed the program to generated those winning numbers. Tipton would then have a third party to cash the ticket and split the prize with him. “When you’re an insider who abuses your position of trust and privilege you should expect to see the inside of a jail cell,” said Sand. “We’re glad that the court agreed and found it appropriate to send Mr. Tipton to prison.” Tipton is not expected to serve his full sentence. Tipton’s defense lawyer says he anticipates his client will serve three to four years, and the prosecutor says Tipton, if well-behaved, will not serve more than five years. The investigation against the Tipton first started in 2010 when a suspicious claim about a $14.3 million Hot Lotto jackpot arose in Iowa. Tommy Tipton is currently serving a 75-day sentence in Texas for a misdemeanor theft charge and deferred judgment on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit theft. Rhodes, who attempted to redeem the $14.3 million jackpot, has pleaded guilty to fraud and is awaiting sentencing.  [Source: Celebrity Net Worth]

Cellphones worth $43K stolen from Texas Sam’s Club

Police are on the look out for five people who used a mattress to conceal the theft of $43,000 worth of new cellphones from an East Texas Sam’s Club. Tyler police Officer Don Martin said Friday that 73 cellphones were stolen from a locked shelf storage unit. Officers are seeking a man and four women over last weekend’s theft. Investigators say the thieves loaded a mattress and additional merchandise on a flat cart to shield them from workers and other shoppers. Martin, in a statement, said the suspects got to the hones by cutting the lock off of a shelf storage unit. Once they had access, the female suspects stuffed the cellphones in their clothes and simply walked out. Surveillance video shows four women and one man fleeing in a dark SUV. Anyone who recognizes the suspects or has information about the theft is asked to contact the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000. Tips can also be made on the Crimestoppers line at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833).  [Source: CBS DFW]

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Woman assaulted detectives during shoplifting arrest, faces four charges

Johnson County prosecutors filed three felonies and one misdemeanor count against a Mississippi woman who is accused of shoplifting and then injuring three detectives who tried to arrest her and another man on Friday afternoon. Court documents say Latrina Newsome, 40, is charged with three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of theft for allegedly taking less than $1,500 worth of property from an Overland Park, Kansas, store. The three detectives were hospitalized. “Once the officers tried to detain them, a fight ensued. Three of our officers were injured, one was pepper sprayed,” Officer John Lacy said.”The officers were transported to a local hospital, they will be okay, one will be held overnight for observation.” The male suspect was chased, but officers lost sight of him at the southwest corner of 95th and Quivira. He’s described as a large black male between the ages of 19 and 22, he’s 6-foot tall with a thin build and was wearing blue jeans and a red & white plaid shirt. There’s been no word on whether he’s been arrested yet. Newsome is in jail, her bail has been set at $75,000, she’s due in court on Monday afternoon.  [Source: Fox4KC]

Judge tosses workers’ class action against Nike over security checks

A federal judge on Tuesday said Nike’s retail arm was not required to pay workers in California for the few seconds each day that they spent going through security checks, and tossed out a class action against the company. US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose said Oregon-based Nike had shown that the 10,000 class members spent an average of 18 seconds being inspected before they left retail stores, and that amount of time was “de minimis” and not compensable under California law. Nike is represented by Seyfarth Shaw and the plaintiffs by Diversity Law Group. Judge Freeman ruled that retail workers hadn’t proven they spent more than a few seconds of off-the-clock time going through security checks.

 Freeman said Nike store employee Isaac Rodriguez didn’t submit evidence contradicting Nike Retail Services’ study, based on 700 hours of security footage, which showed that most exiting employees spent zero time waiting for their bags or jackets to be checked at the end of their shift.  [Source: Reuters]

LP Worldwide: 3 men arrested for using 118 stolen credit cards to shop on Guam

Ziwen Weng and Yukai Lu were arrested on Thursday after counterfeit credit cards were discovered in their suitcases. According to court documents, the two men’s luggage were searched by the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency officers who noted that they found 118 Visa credit cards wrapped in foil and hidden within the suitcases in a cigarette box, shoes and clothing. During an interview with Homeland Security Investigation agents, Weng told authorities that he had posted an online advertisement searching for work. An individual later identified as Daquin Liu, replied and hired him and Lu to travel to Guam from Los Angeles, California to “go shopping.” The complaint states that Weng was promised $10,000 for what was supposed to be a week-long shopping trip in Guam.

The complaint stated that Weng and Lu met with Liu while in California and was given 59 credit cards each. The bogus credit cards had their names on them and according to authorities they were instructed to sign the back of the cards and hide them in their luggage. Liu who was also captured on Guam, was found at the Bayview Hotel. He told authorities that he received the cards from an associate of the main organizer, a man only known as “Ace.” According to court documents Liu stated that “Ace” and the organization he works for is “highly secretive and organized.” Court documents also state that Liu admitted this was not the first time, in fact authorities say he admitted to making three previous trips to Guam from California where he escorted and drove other Chinese men to go shopping at the duty free shop. Liu told authorities that he would be compensated for the costs to book travel, hotel and rental cars for the shoppers as well as paid several thousands of dollars. He further admitted to spending thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that was shipped to Macau, Hong Kong and various addresses in the US. The three men have been charged with possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices and have been remanded to the custody of the US Marshal Service.  [Source: Pacific News Center]

Irma could hit holiday inventories

Hurricane Irma in Florida (like Harvey in Texas before it), is buffeting area retailers. Those selling critical items like food, water and home improvement items are better positioned than those selling discretionary fashion and other merchandise without “deep-value,” according to a note from Cowen & Co. The investment bank also noted “medium-term concerns” on hurricane-related disruptions of supply chains in all categories. That could mean delays in holiday goods and inventories, Cowen analysts warned. Marketplace sellers in Florida appealed to Amazon to allow shipments of holiday merchandise ahead of the storm in August, according to the Amazon seller forum. Some $2.75 billion in consumer and retail sales (including restaurants) could be lost to Irma, in addition to costs incurred by the damage caused directly by the storm, according to Planalytics, which provides weather-related planning tools for businesses. Early storm Hurricane Harvey cost businesses some $1 billion in that measure, Planalytics said.  [Source: RetailDIVE]

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