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Breaking News in the Industry: September 7, 2018

Skimmer sentenced to 9 years for credit card fraud and ID theft in gas pump case

United States District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell today sentenced Yoel Graveran-Palacios, 37, of Tampa, Florida, to nine years in federal prison for conspiracy, credit card fraud, and identity theft. A federal jury found Yoel Graveran-Palacios and his twin brother, Noel Graveran-Palacios, guilty on April 24, 2018. Noel Graveran-Palacios is scheduled to be sentenced on September 19, 2018.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Noel and Yoel Graveran-Palacios worked together, and with others, to place skimmers on gas pumps in the Tampa Bay area. Using the account numbers stolen from the skimmers, they made counterfeit credit cards and then used them to purchase merchandise including gas, toys, clothes, and gift cards, at area retailers. They then used the gift cards to purchase merchandise at home improvement stores, and later returned the items for cash. Trial evidence included hundreds of recovered stolen account numbers, as well as dozens of store surveillance videos featuring the conspirators using the counterfeit credit cards.

This case was investigated by the US Secret Service and the Tampa Police Department, with assistance from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.   [Source: United States Department of Justice]

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Woman nearly 70 nabbed attempting to steal large action figure.

Retail store security spotted a Woodhaven, Michigan, woman nearly 70-years-old attempt to steal a large action figure worth about $140. from Target. According to a police report, the woman was seen by an asset protection associate select the large action figure in the entertainment section of the store, and then move on to the toy department and market.

The report said she put several 12 packs of Coke in her cart and headed to the self-checkout. Asset protection told police the woman pretended to scan the action figure and then placed it in her cart and covered it with bags. She paid for the Coke products and attempted to leave the store. Once detained by AP associates, the woman said it was all an accident and she was willing to pay for the action figure.

According to the report, asset protection associates were familiar with the woman from incidents she has had at the Taylor Target store, where she has been seen stealing Nintendo Switch game controllers. Police found a clearance sticker placed over the bar code of the action figure that had been taken from another item in the store. The report said due to her age and possible medical conditions, she was issued a misdemeanor citation for retail fraud and advised of a hearing date.   [Source: The News-Herald]

Congressman drafts data breach notification bill

Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer is crafting a bill to legislation that would clarify and codify the obligations of financial companies to report data breaches, according to a report by Bloomberg Law. This is a second attempt by Luetkemeyer to draft a framework meant to ensure that consumers whose data has been breached are notified in a full and timely manner.

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Previously submitted legislation was criticized by consumer groups because it exempted institutions that were already covered by the privacy rules in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. The Safeguards Rule in the 1999 act requires financial institutions to develop a written information security plan that describes how the company is prepared for, and plans to continue to protect clients’ nonpublic personal information.   [Source: MobilePaymentsToday]

Suspect accused of stealing from local retailer; theft charges

Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davidson County, Tennessee, has had $3,300 worth of merchandise stolen. According to an affidavit, Kelvin Gilyard was seen by a witness on both April 13 and 14, 2018 stealing from the store. The crime was also caught on the store’s security camera. Police tell Fox 17 News that through Gilyard’s booking they discovered that the National Crime Information Center also has warrants against Gilyard in Fulton County, Georgia.

The Georgia charges are for failure to appear and theft by receiving stolen property. Davidson County Police reached out to Georgia authorities and confirmed these warrants. Tennessee police will extradite Gilyard back to their jurisdiction at their request. Currently, Gilyard is booked a the Davidson County Jail and charged with Theft of Merchandise.   [Source: Fox17 News]

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Duo arrested after attacking LP during robbery

Police in Owasso, Oklahoma, said two women robbed the TJ Maxx Home Goods store by assaulting the loss prevention associate on Tuesday night. Police said Venus Brown and Carolyn Clark went into the store Tuesday night. Brown allegedly cut the security tag off a purse, while Clark allegedly stood in front of her to try and conceal what she was doing. When the women tried to leave the store, the LP associate confronted them at the door and told them to give back the stolen goods, police said.

According to police, Brown then extended her arm and began choking the associate while pushing her out the front door. She also threatened to cut the associate with the same clippers she had used to cut the security tag off the purse. Police said the women drove off, and officers caught up with them about 2 miles away and arrested them. The car didn’t have insurance and the driver, Brown, didn’t have a license.

Brown has a lengthy list of felony convictions dating back to the 1990s, and many of them are for theft from retailers. Clark also has multiple felony convictions. Brown is facing charges of robbery, conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon, driving without a license and failure to carry insurance. Clark is facing charges for robbery and conspiracy. FOX23 reached out to a TJ Maxx spokesperson who commented: “We are aware of the incident that occurred at our Owasso T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods location. At T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, the safety and well-being of our customers and associates is always of great importance to us. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement, and, as this is a police matter it would be inappropriate to comment further.”   [Source: Fox23 News]

Bernie Sanders introduces ‘Stop BEZOS’ bill

US Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced a bill that would tax corporations with more than 500 employees for the full amount employees receive in government assistance. The bill’s title, “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act,” or “Stop BEZOS,” is an open jab at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Sanders had previously criticized Amazon after a study found that some fulfillment center employees relied on a federal food assistance program. Sanders’ criticism drew a heated response from Amazon, which prompted another detailed critique from Sanders’ office, one that included testimonials from Amazon employees about working conditions.

In an emailed statement, an Amazon spokesperson urged consumers to compare its pay and benefits to other retailers. The company told Retail Dive it pays full-time warehouse workers $15 an hour before overtime and offers full benefits packages. While 90% of Amazon workers across jobs are full-time, according to the company, the spokesperson could not disclose to Retail Dive how many part-time employees work in its warehouses.

Amazon also came under fire on Twitter last week for deploying at least 16 “fulfillment center ambassadors” on the social media platform to calm conversations regarding labor practices at Amazon. The company clarified to multiple media outlets that the accounts did not belong to bots, but real people.  [Source: RetailDIVE]

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