Breaking News in the Industry: December 5, 2016

Estimated three million dollars of counterfeit merchandise seized at Augusta (GA) flea markets

Four suspects have been arrested and charged after Richmond County deputies seized about three million dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise from two flea markets. The suspects arrested are Abu Karuma, Faye Adamas, Ana Ycaza and Leha Truong.

An incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office reveals members from the Office’s Crime Suppression Team went to the South Augusta Flea Market in reference to counterfeit goods being sold at several booths. The report states Adamas “tried to distance himself” as investigators approached the booths. Eventually, each of the four owners identified their booths as their own and were taken into custody.

Items seized from Karuma’s booth include dozens of boxes containing counterfeit Timberland and UGG boots, as well as several pairs of counterfeit Nike and Jordan-brand basketball shoes. The booth Adamas owned included dozens of counterfeit Nike shoes, Timberland boots, hundreds of other counterfeit shoes and various counterfeit North Face jackets. Ycaza’s booth included several large plastic bags containing counterfeit Michael Kors wallets and counterfeit Channel perfume while Truong’s booth contained counterfeit sports-brand hats and jackets. Along with the counterfeit goods, deputies also seized about $10,000 dollars in cash and a car.

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Each vendor is charged with one count of forged/counterfeit trademarks, service marks. [Source: CBS News]

NYPD recovers millions in counterfeit electronics

Police have arrested three men and recovered several million dollars in cash and counterfeit Samsung and Apple electronics. Multiple search warrants were executed at two Brooklyn storefronts, which resulted in the significant haul. A combined total of $71,000 in cash was recovered from both locations along with approximately 31,000 cell phones. Officials say the two stores were distribution centers where the counterfeit goods were being sold to customers at wholesale prices.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had initially identified at least one suspicious package at JFK International Airport, which originated in China, according to police sources. The find led to a nine-month investigation which culminated in last Thursday’s raids. U.S. Customs, a division of Homeland Security worked in partnership with NYPD units in the successful operation. In a press conference outside of the Coney Island Ave location, law enforcement officials showcased a truck filled with dozens of cardboard boxes containing the fraudulent merchandise.

Aside from being bogus, the electronics do not meet standard safety regulations according to Brian McCarthy, Commanding Officer of the NYPD Criminal Enterprise Division. “We had experts analyze these products and they supplied to me that these products are dangerous. It’s not what the manufacturer produces in a safe manner.” [Source: New York Post]

Holiday weekend online retail credit card fraud jumps 20 percent

Card-not-present fraud—fraudulent transactions where a credit card is not physically presented to a merchant—increased significantly from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2016 when compared to the same period in past years, according to new information released by iovation, a provider of device intelligence for authentication and fraud prevention.

Research revealed a 20 percent increase in online retail credit card fraud during the 2016 holiday shopping weekend when compared to the same period in 2015, and a 34 percent increase in online credit card fraud from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2014 to 2016.

The rise in online credit card fraud is being attributed to the recent shift from consumers using traditional credit and debit cards with magnetic strips to EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chipped. While the new chip cards have proven to do a great job of stopping card-present fraud, it is now clear that fraudsters are turning online. “The shift from in-person card fraud to card-not-present fraud shows that cybercriminals are quick to shift the focus of their scams,” said iovation CTO Scott Waddell.

The company also found that consumers conducted 55 percent of their retail online transactions from this Black Friday to Cyber Monday using mobile phones and tablets compared to 49 percent the rest of 2016. This continues an ongoing mobile retail transaction increase over the holidays and year-to-year. Last year during that same period that percentage was 47 percent compared to 44 percent the rest of the year, in 2014 that was 37 percent compared to 32 percent the rest of the year and in 2013 that was 31 percent compared to 20 percent the rest of the year. [Source: Claims Journal]

LP Worldwide: Gang operating sophisticated credit card fraud swindle hundreds of thousands of euro from Irish towns

A gang operating a sophisticated credit card fraud have swindled hundreds of thousands of euro from towns across Ireland in recent days. The gang, which consists of three men and a woman, are using cloned and stolen cards to steal high-end goods.

The gang has hit a number of towns in recent days. Police in Letterkenny estimate that more than €20,000 in laptop computers, phones, jewelry and perfumes was stolen using bogus card in just one day recently. Another spate of robberies using cloned cards took place across Dublin. A source revealed how a jewelry store in Dublin had €5,000 worth of goods taken by the gang.

It is understood the cloned cards belong to wealthy card owners whose banks would not ‘red flag’ larger purchases and allow transactions through. The cards being used in the latest spate of robberies are ones which would not normally be in circulation in Ireland.

The gang are highly mobile and use both public transport and private cars between shops. They base themselves between Belfast and Dublin and are aged in their 40s and 50s.

Sgt Paul Wallace, crime prevention officer in Co Donegal, said retail staff must take the time to go through the various security checks on credit cards. “This gang and other gangs operating in this area are highly organized, confident and know exactly what they are. And they are also targeting younger people who may only be in stores working for the Christmas period and not completely familiar or confident with the operation of their systems,” he said. [Source: Irish Mirror]

LP Worldwide: Fake credit card factory in London

Five men have been sentenced after police uncovered a fake bank and credit card factory in Holloway (London, England). Officers from the Met’s Falcon (Fraud and Linked Crime Online) Taskforce Unit were alerted to the fraudulent activity after receiving information that false bank and credit cards being used and supplied across mainland Europe were linked to a particular UK phone number.

Detectives identified that the phone number belonged to Gabriel Yew and then found an address they suspected he was using to produce the fake cards. When Yew was arrested, officers seized the phone he was using and searched the flat Yew was en route to, where they found thousands of blank cards as well as several printing and embossing machines that were being used to produce fake bank and credit cards. Officers also searched Yew’s car and his home where they found more blank cards and printing machines linked to the production of false documents, as well as almost £5,000 in cash. Officers also discovered high-value goods including luxury handbags and watches.

Through their investigation, officers identified King Mensah Lamarl Brown, Kofi Gyateng and Christopher Tansey as being involved in the plot. Following Mensah’s arrest officers searched his home where they found several false credit cards and ID documents bearing Mensah’s photo, but all in different names.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gould, from Falcon, said: “Gabriel Yew supplied fake credit cards in bulk for criminals all over London. The excellent and painstaking detective work of the Metropolitan Police’s Falcon Taskforce identified Yew and his card factory then gathered sufficient high-quality evidence to convict these defendants at court. This shows our determination to tackle the organized criminal gangs in London committing large-scale fraud offenses.” [Source: The Metropolitan Police]

Police arrest suspects in $70K cell phone thefts

The San Francisco Police Department has arrested five men who are suspected in the burglary of a West Portal cell phone store. That morning, three masked men entered the store and left with a large safe containing $30,000 worth of cell phones and other electronics, according to a SFPD press release.

After investigating the crime, a police plainclothes unit identified one suspect and a vehicle used in the burglary. The plainclothes officers began to follow the suspect, and they witnessed him and four other men robbing another store in Dixon, CA. This time, the five masked men stole a safe containing $40,000 of cell phones. SFPD and highway patrol officers stopped two getaway cars leaving the store in Dixon and arrested the five men. While conducting searches related to the case in Oakland, officers found $105,000 in cash, as well as cell phones and electronics worth $25,000.

The suspects arrested are all Oakland residents: Layne Bishop, Duane Bishop, William Owens, Christian Bishop, and Alvin Chambers. The five men were booked into Solano County jail on charges of burglary, grand theft, conspiracy, and possession of burglary tools. All the men save for Duane Bishop were already on probation; Christian Bishop and Alvin Chambers were specifically on probation for burglary. The police are still searching for a sixth suspect in the case. [Source: Hoodline]

Truck smashes into Iowa Walmart store, killing three people

A pickup truck smashed through the doors of an Iowa Walmart store, killing three people and scattering merchandise on the floor, before it came to a stop at the fresh produce section in what authorities believe was a tragic accident.

Witnesses said the truck entered through the front doors on the grocery portion of the store and came to a rest after hitting a merchandise display near the produce section. “At this time, we don’t have any reason to believe it was intentional,” said Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, who was at the scene of the crash. Ludwig said officials are investigating all possible scenarios.

The crash in Pella just before 10 a.m. killed three people — all outside the vehicle — and injured the driver and another person, Ludwig said. None of those killed or injured were children. Authorities had not released the identities of those involved as officials worked to inform family members of the casualties. Ludwig said he did not have the medical conditions of those hurt. Witnesses said the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash. The store was closed as law enforcement investigated. [Source: The WCF Courier]

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