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Breaking News in the Industry: May 13, 2016

Flea Market Raided in Alleged Food Stamp Scam Called Largest in U.S. History

More than two dozen people are facing federal and state charges in connection to an illegal scheme that traded food stamp benefits for cash. Wednesday morning, police raided the Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market where some of the activity was alleged to have taken place. “This is the largest fraud take down in U.S. history,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. 22 retail store owners or operators were indicted for receiving more than $13 million in federal payments for transactions in which they did not provide any food — a fraud scheme officials called “food stamp trafficking.” “The card is for the sole purpose of food, not cash, and they were never to be used as you would at an ATM,” Ferrer explained. “These retailers betrayed the public trust by stealing millions of dollars from a food stamp program that is aimed at helping low income people who have needs of food and nutrition.” Authorities said the cards would be swiped in exchange for cash payments that were far less than what store owners would bill the government. “Basically, the people would come here with the food stamp card and get cash at a reduced amount.” … [CBS News]


Men Accused of Spending $50,000 with Fake Credit Cards

Ariel Perez-Calvo and Lueje-Rodriguez allegedly used debit and credit card numbers assigned to customers from 10 different banks and credit unions in Maine to purchase more than $50,000 worth of gift and credit cards. During that time period, they visited at least 29 Rite Aid stores and 11 Hannaford supermarkets, where they allegedly used numbers from 43 different accounts. “The suspects used the stolen bank information to create fictitious debit cards and make purchases throughout Maine at Rite Aid, Walgreens and Hannaford stores, among others,” state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said when the men were arrested. “The purchases generally were prepaid Visa cards.” The pair came to the attention of law enforcement after a detective with the Saco Police Department reported his debit card information had been used to purchase about $1,679 in merchandise at Rite Aid stores in Guilford, Milo, Dexter and Millinocket. Both men are natives of Cuba but are permanent legal residents of the United States… [Bangor Daily News]

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$37,000 in Goods Shoplifted; Couple Arrested

Salem police, with the assistance of a region retail theft prevention coalition, arrested Michael Rascon and his wife, Maria Rojas for unlawful racketeering, money laundering, organized retail theft, and first-degree theft by deception on Thursday morning after detectives executed a search warrant at their residence. A large amount of new retail items still in their original packaging were located at the residence, police said. Investigators with Safeway/Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Target collaborated as part of the Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance to build the case against them.The couple were allegedly selling stolen items online, buying stolen merchandise and even had “shopping lists” of things that they wanted stolen so they could turn around and sell. The Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance investigators conducted an undercover mission and made seven separate purchases from the couple with a retail value of more than $37,000… [KOIN News]


LP Worldwide: Emergency Services Talk Alleged Shoplifter down from Jumping Off Bridge

Emergency services have been called out to a Doncaster bridge to try and prevent an alleged shoplifter from jumping off, after police attempted to apprehend him. Three fire engines, two police vans and two emergency response vehicles were called out to St Mary’s Bridge earlier this morning to deal with the incident. A man, whose age is not yet known, ran down to the river bank and waded waist-deep into the river twice when officers were called out to reports of shoplifting and attempted to apprehend him. He later got onto a ledge at the side of St Mary’s Bridge and threatened to ‘throw himself off if the police did not back off’. Acting Police Sergeant, Chris Macleod, said police spent over an hour trying to talk the man down. He added: “We employed a multi-agency response to get the man down safely. “After around an hour we were trying to persuade him to get off the ledge… [Doncaster Free Press]


LP Solutions

LP Worldwide: Fake Orders: The Dark Side of China’s Booming E-Commerce Business

A small e-retailer created a big news recently in China when it admitted to a practice many believe is commonplace on China’s online marketplaces: a seller placing fake orders to boost its apparent sales and thus its rankings in search results on the country’s huge online shopping malls. Flower e-retailer Shanghai Aishang Flowers Co., Ltd. last week confessed that it hired workers to place orders from its store on two major web marketplaces, in order to move up in search results. The Shanghai-based company spent 739,268 yuan ($113,690) to hire individuals who placed 163,676 fake orders on marketplaces in the first seven months of 2015, representing 42.02% of its total orders. For the same reason, Aishang Flowers also spent 1,015,399 yuan ($156,130) in 2014 and 2013. Aishang Flowers said that it considered creating fake orders “a marketing approach” and didn’t include the fake orders in the sales reported in the filing. Although this is the first time that an e-retailer publically admitted to making phony orders, analysts say this example represents just the tip of the iceberg. A search for the term “fake orders” on China’s leading search engine,, produces a first page of search results with five sites offering fake ordering services to merchants. The practice of placing fake orders is so common that the industry has created a term for it—“brushing orders”… [Internet RETAILER]


Three Ways to Keep Cargo Theft in Check

Cargo theft poses potentially crippling risks for all involved in transporting cargo. Beyond the obvious driver security concerns, thieves tend to target high value, expensive-to-replace loads, such as electronics and pharmaceuticals. On average, these stolen loads cost shippers more than $180,000 apiece in lost goods in 2015, according to the FreightWatch report. Meanwhile, carriers and drivers face the prospect of stolen equipment. And thefts can negatively impact a consumer’s experience with a company, resulting in churn or damaged brand reputation.
While this may sound all doom and gloom, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce risk and mitigate losses.

  • Focus on the driver. It is important to ensure that your provider has protocols in place to thoroughly vet carriers.
  • Focus on the cargo. GPS tracking is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s an essential piece of any cargo security protocol. Locking devices on both tractor and trailer door handles also alert potential breaches, while different types of sensors can signal thefts based on a range of criteria.
  • Make investigation and recovery a priority. Just as important as prevention is recovering goods after a theft, especially high value loads. As thefts become more organized, time is of the essence.

Strengthening each of these areas is key to shoring up defenses against cargo thieves. However, as thieves continually become savvier, the best security protocol includes several layers of protection – from GPS solutions and other sensor technologies, to better prepared drivers, to more educated shippers and more structured, risk-averse routes…” [Supply Chain Management Review]

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