Breaking News in the Industry: September 28, 2018

Twin brothers get federal prison time

A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after he and his twin brother placed skimmers on gas pumps in the Tampa area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa said Wednesday. Noel Graveran-Palacios, 37, of Tampa was sentenced on conspiracy, credit card fraud and identity theft charges. A federal jury found Noel and his brother, Yoel Graveran-Palacios, guilty in April. Yoel was sentenced September 4 to nine years in federal prison.

The brothers, along with accomplices, used account numbers stolen from skimmers to make counterfeit credit cards, which they then used to buy merchandise including gas, toys, clothes and gift cards. They then used the gift cards to purchase merchandise at home improvement stores, and later returned the items for cash, prosecutors said. Investigators recovered hundreds of stolen account numbers and collected dozens of store surveillance video clips of the thieves using the fake credit cards. During the trial, as jurors deliberated, the brothers fled the area together, but were later re-arrested in Texas near the Mexican border.   [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Police officer suspended after being stopped by LP

The South Bend , Indiana, Police Department reported that an officer was relieved of duty with pay after being stopped yesterday by loss prevention associate at a local retail store. At the request of Chief Ruszkowski, the Indiana State Police will investigate the incident and refer its findings to the County Prosecutor for review. The officer’s name was not provided.  An internal investigation by the South Bend Police Department is in progress at this time. 
No other information has been released.   [Source: WNDU16 News]

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Amazon’s new retail store only stocks items rated 4 stars and up

Amazon isn’t limiting its New York City retail openings to its checkout-free Go store. It’s launching Amazon 4-star, a shop devoted solely to products in popular categories that are either rated four stars or higher, top sellers or “new and trending” on the Amazon website. You’ll also see sections inside the store that focus on recommendations you usually see at the online store, including Most-Wished For, Frequently Bought Together and (of course) Amazon Exclusives. E-paper price tags will show you both the regular and discounted Prime pricing, and you’ll even see cards that quote online reviews.

The store is in the SoHo neighborhood on Spring Street between Crosby and Lafayette. It debuts on September 27th, and will be open between 10AM and 9PM on every day except for Sunday (11AM to 8PM). Like Go stores, this is really an experiment in retail. Will people go to a store whose catalog is an ever-evolving microcosm of what you see in Amazon’s online portal? It’s a tough call. While the products will certainly be recognizable, it’s not clear how reliable the inventory will be. It’s not certain how well internet trends will translate to a physical shop, either. You might have to wait a while to learn whether or not this is a clever shake-up of retail conventions.   [Source: Engadget]

Employee jailed after being accused of stealing merchandise

A Monroe, Louisiana, man is accused of stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise from his employer. Yesterday morning, the manager of TJ Maxx in Monroe told police he had video of a worker putting items into a janitor’s closet and taking them out of the packaging, then stealing them. 56-year-old Edward Garratt is accused of stealing more than $1,000 worth of items including watches, headphones, wallets, and jewelry.   [Source: MyArklaMiss]

Woman accused of engaging in organized crime, shoplifting with sisters

Saturday, a Belk loss prevention associate in Corbin, Kentucky, saw three women loading a buggy with clothing. The associate told police the woman bagged the clothing and then made a run for the front door. The LP associate said he tried to stop all three, but two of the women got past him. He was able to stop the third woman by tackling her. Police said the woman put up a short fight before giving up. A magnet used to remove tags from merchandise was apparently found in the woman’s pocket.

The woman, Erica Ragland, told police that she was with her two sisters, Alicia and Shay Ragland. She also said she had just moved from Las Vegas and was not close to her sisters. The stolen merchandise recovered consisted of Nike and Polo items, valued at $1,572. Erica faces charges of second-degree robbery and engaging in organized crime.   [Source: WYMT News]

Uber Settles Data Breach Investigation for $148 Million

Uber will pay $148 million to settle a nationwide investigation into a 2016 data breach, in which a hacker managed to gain access to information belonging to 57 million riders and drivers. The breach included names and driver’s license numbers for 600,000 drivers.
The investigation, led by state attorneys general across the United States, focused on whether Uber had violated data breach notification laws by not informing consumers that their information had been compromised.

Rather than disclosing the breach when it occurred, Uber paid the hacker $100,000 through its bug bounty program, which financially rewards hackers for discovering and disclosing software flaws. The ride-hailing company persuaded him to delete the data and stay quiet about it with a nondisclosure agreement. The incident became public a year later when Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, announced it as a “failure” and fired the two employees who had signed off on the payment.

“Uber’s decision to cover up this breach was a blatant violation of the public’s trust,” Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, said in a statement. “The company failed to safeguard user data and notify authorities when it was exposed.” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said the settlement was part of a larger effort inside Uber to remake the company’s image. He said the company had recently hired a chief privacy officer and a chief trust and security officer.

“We know that earning the trust of our customers and the regulators we work with globally is no easy feat. After all, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose,” Mr. West said. He added that the breach was disclosed to the public during his first day on the job. “Rather than settling into my new work space and walking the floor to meet my new colleagues, I spent the day calling various state and federal regulators,” Mr. West said. The Federal Trade Commission settled its investigation into the data breach in April. The trade commission now requires Uber to submit to regular privacy audits as part of a 2017 settlement, which was revised this year to address the most recent breach.   [Source: The New York Times]

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