Breaking News in the Industry: September 27, 2018

Group used fake credit cards to steal over $100K in furniture, cars

A Cincinnati, Ohio, grand jury issued indictments for five people in connection to using fake credit cards to steal $100,000 in furniture, alcohol, cars, and other goods in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, police said. A Hamilton County Grand Jury on September 14 handed down indictments for Kevin Roberson, Dionte Dorsey, Jacqueline Collins, Ciarra Asbury and Jacinda Humphrey on charges of theft and telecommunications fraud. All suspects live in Cincinnati.

Greenhills Police Officer Zachery Clark followed the suspected thieves after they made a suspicious purchase at Bargains and Buyouts on September 3. Clark followed the suspects, who were driving furniture to two locations using U-Haul trucks. Police stopped one of the trucks on the Norwood Lateral, and they stopped the other truck in Over-the-Rhine. Both trucks were full with stolen furniture, police said.

The suspects are accused of purchasing products with credit cards that were not activated or loaded with any money. When the transaction failed, a suspect told the clerk they were going to call the number on the back of the card. They would then call an accomplice, who pretended to be a bank representative, police said. The accomplice would give the clerk a four-digit number that would force the transaction through. “The information to learn how to force these transactions is available on the internet,” according to police. Once the transaction goes through, the business does not know it is fraudulent for up to 48 hours later. Police said the suspects also used the fraudulent credit cards to steal cars from small car lots, and they used the cards to rent the U-Haul truck.   [Source: WCPO9 News]

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Employee charged with $9.6K theft

An employee has been charged with stealing an estimated $9,600 from the Family Dollar store in Steelton, Pennsylvania, borough police said. Police said Crystal Rohrbach, 33, of Steelton, was charged with retail theft after store officials called them to investigate Friday. That probe showed Rohrbach had been under-ringing purchases and even letting customers leave the store without paying for four months, police said.   [Source: Penn Live]

Amazon tests integrity of its drivers by using fake packages as traps

Employee theft is an issue for many large companies, and each has their own methods of dealing with workers who steal. Amazon, which doesn’t have the best reputation for treating its staff well, reportedly uses a unique approach, one that some people say borders on entrapment. According to Business Insider, which cites an anonymous former Amazon logistics manager, the company tries to identify drivers who are stealing by randomly placing dummy packages on its delivery trucks.

Whenever an employee scans one of these fake items, an error message will show up on their scanner. The idea behind the scheme is that an honest employee will either check with a supervisor or bring the package back to the warehouse at the end of their shift to identify the problem. But as it isn’t registered on Amazon’s system, a dishonest worker who assumes nobody will notice its absence might decide to steal the package. These false items often contain something from Amazon’s inventory to add “some weight” and make them appear more appealing to thieves. “It’s meant to be a trap … to check the integrity of the driver,” said the source.

“If you bring the package back, you are innocent. If you don’t, you’re a thug,” Sid Shah, a former manager for DeliverOL, a courier company that delivers packages for Amazon, told Business Insider. When reached for comment, Amazon said, “Checks and audits are part of overall quality programs and are administered at random.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that Amazon employees are allegedly taking bribes for insider data and deletion of product reviews. This followed news that Amazon is using warehouse workers to tweet about how great it is to work for the company. These ‘FC Ambassadors’ have been responding to tweets criticizing Amazon’s reportedly poor working conditions.    [Source: TechSpot]

Husband, wife shoplifted clothes to ship to Mexico

A husband and wife tried to leave Gloucester Premium Outlets in New Jersey, Saturday with their two young children and more than $8,000 in stolen merchandise stashed in bags and a stroller, according to township police. Instead of heading back home to New York City, the two suspects were arrested as they loaded their vehicle with the goods, after security guards alerted local police on foot patrol at the shopping center.

Jose Morales-Marquez, 42, and Pilar Pineda-Sanchez, 47, of the 500 block of 138th Street in the Bronx, told police they planned to ship the merchandise to Mexico for resale. They were both charged with shoplifting, leading an organized retail theft enterprise, and endangering the welfare of children. Both adults were taken into custody and released on a criminal summons. Their vehicle was towed and seized. The stolen merchandise was returned to several stores.   [Source: Courier Post]

LP associate tackles, fights with alleged shoplifter

An accused shoplifter upped the charge to robbery after police say she attempted to force her way past a Belk loss prevention associate before she was tackled at the door Saturday night. Erica L. Ragland, 18, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is facing charges of second-degree robbery and engaging in organized crime after Corbin Police say she, and two other women, identified as Allcia Ragland and Shay Ragland, loaded $1,572 in Nike and Polo brand merchandise into a cart and then attempted to run out the front door. “Loss prevention associate Camden Carter attempted to stop all there. Two females go by him. He tacked one female after she tried running through him. The female then put up a brief fight and then gave up,” Corbin Police Officer Jeff Hill wrote in the arrest citation adding that a magnet used to remove the security tags from the merchandise was found in Erica Ragland’s pocket.

Corbin Police Lt. Coy Wilson, the department’s public affairs officer, said Hill charged Erica Ragland with engaging in organized crime because there were multiple individuals involved.  “We have not heard of them hitting any other stores, but we don’t believe this is an isolated incident,” Wilson said adding police have several leads and are attempting to locate the other women. While Erica Ragland’s driver’s license identified her as a Nevada resident, Wilson said she told police that she had recently moved to the Lexington area where her sisters lived.  “We have contacted Lexington Police in an effort to locate them,” Wilson said. Erica Ragland was lodged in the Knox County Detention Center. On Monday, she was transferred to the Leslie County Detention Center where she is being held on a $10,000 cash bond.   [Source: The News Journal]

Louis Vuitton, Rolex & Chanel top list of most-seized counterfeits

The most heavily counterfeited brand in South Korea? Louis Vuitton. According to a report from the Korea Customs Service, which looked at the state of intellectual property infringement in the nation over the past 4 years, Korean officials seized more counterfeit Louis Vuitton products than those from any other brand between June 2014 to June 2018. And the frequency with which fake Louis Vuitton bags are being seized by customs officials is growing.

Over the past 4 years, the Korea Customs Service – the government agency that oversees all import clearance procedures for the country – says that it uncovered a total of 183.1 billion won ($224 million) in mostly China-made counterfeit goods bearing Louis Vuitton’s trademarks, the largest dollar among all counterfeited luxury brands. The $224 million figure is what the counterfeit Louis Vuitton products would be worth if they were authentic and sold at retail.

Between the beginning of 2018 and June, alone, Korea Customs seized a whopping 41.1 billion won worth of Louis Vuitton goods, making it so that this year’s total value of seized goods is expected to reach a five-year high, according to agency officials. Following behind Louis Vuitton, law enforcement in Korea confiscated 106.1 billion won worth of counterfeit Rolex watches, 96.2 billion won in counterfeit Cartier jewelry, 69.8 billion won in fake Chanel garments and accessories, and 40.2 billion won in imitation Gucci goods. These same brands topped the last report that Korea Customs Service released, which tallied the dollar value of counterfeits seized between 2012 and 2016. Louis Vuitton topped that list, as well, followed by Rolex, Cartier, Chanel, Burberry, and Gucci.

As for Paris-based Louis Vuitton, in particular, which holds the title of the world’s most valuable luxury brand, the Customs report reveals that the number of seized products has steadily been on the rise. For instance, between 2015 and 2016, the total value of seized Louis Vuitton imitations grew by 33.6 billion won ($30 million). “Making and distributing fake goods is a criminal act that violates intellectual property rights, and it is required to toughen crackdown on such illegalities,” said lawmaker Kang Byung-won of the ruling Democratic Party. He requested the data from the customs agency and released it publicly.   [Source: The Fashion Law]

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