Breaking News in the Industry: February 9, 2018

Interview and Interrogation

Dashcam video shows shoplifting suspect punch police officer in the face [Viral Video]

A police officer from Glendale, Wisconsin was punched in the face and it was caught on camera. ABC affiliate WISN-TV obtained the dashcam footage of the incident that took place Friday, January 26, at Bayshore Town Center. The police report said Daryl Griffin, 31, stole merchandise and then resisted arrest outside the Kohl’s Department Store. In the video, one the two officers on scene orders Griffin to the ground. The video then shows an officer fire a taser at Griffin. He fell and a struggle took place. The report said Griffin punched one of the officers in the nose as the officer tried to grab his hand during the scuffle. “He punched me in the [expletive] face,” the officer can be heard saying. According to the police report the officer’s nose began to bleed. Another officer was hurt as well, suffering cuts and bruises to the hand. A Glendale police spokesman told ABC News the officers suffered minor injuries and one of the officers missed one day of work as a result of the incident. Both are back to work on full duty, the spokesman said. Griffin was charged with battery to a law enforcement officer, resisting and officer and misdemeanor retail theft.  [Source: ABC News]

Two New York men sentenced for credit card fraud

Two New York men have been sentenced in New Haven federal court for their roles in a credit card fraud scheme. Yang-Shi Lin, of Flushing, New York was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Mei Bao Lu, also of Flushing, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Lu was the ringleader of a group of individuals from New York that engaged in counterfeit credit card transactions at retail stores along the East Coast. Lin was Lu’s second-in-command. As part of the scheme, Lu provided several individuals with counterfeit credit cards, which had been produced from credit card information skimmed from cardholders, and directed the buyers to purchase gift cards and luxury merchandise using the counterfeit cards. He then sold the items to other individuals at a discount to be fenced or sold on the black market. The group engaged in fraudulent credit card transactions at retail stores in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In total, the group members collectively used 120 counterfeit credit cards, issued by 18 victim financial institutions, to make a total of approximately $179,000 in fraudulent purchases. Investigators discovered an additional 333 stolen card numbers on thumb drives belonging to Lu and Lin that had not been used at the time of their arrests. Lu was arrested in West Virginia, after he and three other individuals were caught buying gift cards and merchandise with counterfeit credit cards at a mall in Barboursville, West Virginia. Lu pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and aiding and abetting. Lin was arrested and pleaded guilty to the same charge. Lu and Lin, who are released on bond, were ordered to report to prison on March 7, 2018.  [Source: Banker & Tradesman]

Crime shouldn’t pay, but requiring reimbursement may not pay off

A law that takes effect next month in Michigan adds a handful of new crimes to the list of offenses for which violators must reimburse the state or a local unit of government for expenses incurred responding to and prosecuting the crime. Such crimes as drunk driving and violating a restraining order have carried this requirement and now retail fraud, dealing in stolen goods and failure to appear in court will, too. Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, the bill’s sponsor, issued a press release that said the law was created in response to rising rates of retail fraud at The Lakes Mall in Muskegon. It said also, “This law is a further deterrent to crime and will save money by reducing costs to the state and to local units of government.” Requiring people who commit crimes of theft to make their victims whole makes sense. But allowing government agencies to recoup their costs from criminal defendants is a bad idea, and it might not even accomplish Hansen’s goal of deterring crime. Although criminology is an imprecise science, the findings tend to conclude that the probability of getting caught is a better deterrent than the threat of a more severe punishment. This is one reason why the modern criminal justice reform movement has urged lawmakers to move away from “tough on crime” policies like mandatory minimum sentences.

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And anecdotes seem to support the research: In Michigan, the prison population appears to fluctuate independently of the crime rate, suggesting that imposing long sentences didn’t have the desired effect on crime. Now prisons are full of people serving long sentences, and although crime is steadily decreasing, Michigan corrections spending has plateaued at about $2 billion. In keeping with research on the best deterrents, one clearly effective solution is increasing police presence in high-crime areas — not to pursue an aggressive, high-arrest crackdown on “bad” neighborhoods, but to discourage the kind of criminality that would necessitate arrests in the first place. Policymakers should reconsider the idea of sticking criminal offenders with the bill for the costs associated with their arrest, trial and incarceration. For one thing, it creates perverse incentives for law enforcement officers when they know that when they arrest someone for certain types of crimes, they generate revenue for their employer. And these types of administrative expenses disproportionately effect low-income offenders, making their full rehabilitation and a successful reintegration into society more difficult.  [Source: Mackinac Center]

Four men accused of $80K cargo theft

In New Jerse, four men, from Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties — have been arrested and others are being sought in connection with the theft of about $80,000 worth of cargo from a North Union Avenue beverage packing company. Hillside Police Chief Vincent Ricciardi said Wilfredo Bobadilla, 45, of New Brunswick, Arturo Sanchez, 45, of the Somerset section of Franklin, Elijah Jacobs, 38, of New Brunswick, and Gerard Perkins, 42, of Rahway, were charged with theft of movable property, a second-degree crime.

According to Ricciardi, about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, near the exit of the Union Beverage parking lot on North Union Avenue, officers stopped Sanchez with cardboard covering the license plate of a white 2004 Freightliner tractor-tractor he was driving.  Police said Bobadilla was in the passenger seat. A preliminary investigation indicated that the trailer contained about $80,000 worth of cargo stolen from Union Beverage, police said. Jacobs, a Union Beverage supervisor, was determined to be involved in the theft, police said. Police said Perkins, a Union Beverage forklift operator, fled or was hiding. Police said he was quickly located and arrested. The investigation is continuing with the possibility of more arrests, police said. “Due to the diligence and professionalism of our officers and detectives a major theft of property from a Hillside business has been thwarted. I’m exceptionally proud of them,” Ricciardi said.  [Source: MyCentralJersey]

Employee suspected of stealing $6,000 from store

Ocala, Florida, police on Wednesday arrested a Kmart employee suspected of stealing thousands of dollars from the store. Amber Martin, 39, of Ocala, told a police officer she took the cash because she is a single mother trying to take care of her daughter, according to an Ocala Police Department arrest report. After the interview, she was arrested on grand theft and taken to the Marion County Jail. She was released at 2:27 a.m. Thursday on $5,000 bond. Martin was an associate working in the money room at the Kmart at 3711 E. Silver Springs Blvd, according to the report. A Kmart loss prevention associate had told the police officer that Martin took $6,000 from the store and that the theft had been going on since July. The Kmart official said he recovered $70 from Martin.   [Source: Ocala StarBanner]

Georgia woman faces 20 years for $1.1M national casino fraud scheme

An Alpharetta, Georgia, woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges related to a nationwide casino and credit card scheme. Vivian Wang, 54, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California announced. Wang faces two to 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. Her case was the product of a joint investigation by the FBI and California’s Bureau of Gambling Control. LexisNexis, an online public records and research system, flags Wang’s social security number as being linked to multiple people. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between 2008 and 2014, Wang and a co-defendant — Frank Luo, 49, of Las Vegas — participated in a scheme to defraud casinos and credit card companies across the country. The scheme involved using the names and social security numbers of migrant workers to apply for casino credit and to open credit card accounts. Casino credit — also called a “marker” — is a cash advance provided by a casino to a patron, and it is often secured by a check from the patron’s bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Initially, Wang and Luo paid off several of these “markers” on time to give the impression of “credit worthiness” to casinos and credit card companies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. But then Wang and Luo recruited “clients” to participate in the scheme to induce the casinos and credit card companies to part with even more money under fraudulent pretenses. Wang and others working with her coordinated their gambling activity to give the appearance of losing money, which encouraged the casinos to issue future “markers,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The investigation found that one schemer would “lose” money while another would gain the same. In other instances, one schemer would secretly deliver the issued gambling chips to another to give the appearance of having spent them, the investigation found. Wang and her co-schemers did not repay the casino markers or the outstanding credit card balances accrued. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the fraud led to more than $1.1 million in losses to casinos and credit card companies.  [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]

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