Breaking News in the Industry: October 11, 2018

Fraudster sentenced to 4.5 years for credit-card fraud scheme

A 34-year-old Tempe, Arizona, man was sentenced Wednesday to 4.5 years in prison for a credit-card fraud scheme targeting more than 150 account holders who were ill or had recently died, authorities said.

Jason Siebert-Thomas was accused of using victims’ personal information to obtain duplicate credit cards and make more than $300,000 in fraudulent purchases, the Tempe Police Department said after his arrest in 2017.

Thomas told investigators that he fraudulently used the credit cards of deceased individuals, which affected multiple victims in Tempe, Glendale and Paradise Valley. An investigation was launched when American Express alerted the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators to suspicious activity, and a bulletin was issued to fraud investigators, including Tempe police.

In 2016, authorities learned that Siebert-Thomas was adding his name to deceased individuals’ credit-card accounts and changing their addresses to his own residence, the Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday in announcing the sentence. Police tracked Siebert-Thomas’ phone number and discovered he used his phone to order multiple duplicate cards of other account holders.

Siebert-Thomas initially was arrested in January 2017, but was released while his charges were pending, officials said. Siebert pleaded guilty to several felony charges, including fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft. Besides the prison term, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach sentenced Siebert-Thomas to three years of supervised probation upon his release, the Attorney General’s Office said.   [Source: AZ Central]

Shoplifter faces life as habitual offender

A history of shoplifting has Steve Jaquish, 60, facing life in prison as a habitual criminal.
Friday morning loss prevention at the Coldwater Walmart in Michigan recognized Jaquish from previous arrests as he was pushing a shopping cart from the store. It was filled with three televisions, antifreeze, and golf balls valued at $370. Jaquish was ordered to stop but instead he ran and left in a Ford Taurus north on I-69.

A Branch County Sheriff Deputy stopped the car for Coldwater Police. Jaquish was ticketed for driving on a suspended license and arrested for first degree retail fraud because of his prior arrests. His conviction began in 1991 in Jackson, Branch and Mason Counties with three in the last 12 months. As a habitual offender the five year offense can result in a sentence of years up to life. Jaquish was held under a $150,000 bond with preliminary proceedings set for Oct. 16 and 23.   [Source: The Daily Reporter]

Rampant Chinese iPhone repair fraud forced Apple to develop countermeasures

Speaking to unidentified sources of Apple, The Information claims Apple saw significant amounts of fraud in the country relating to warranty repairs. In May 2013, the Apple Store in Shenzhen had logged more than 2,000 warranty claims per week, which was the highest of all Apple retail outlets in the world.

Apple’s investigation discovered the high rate was caused by a sophisticated and organized scheme, where thieves would buy or steal iPhones, remove valuable components including the processor, screen, and logic board, and replace them with fake parts or other items, including chewing gum wrappers.

The thieves then returned the iPhones to the store, claiming they were broken, and received replacements that were then resold. The extracted components were then used to refurbish iPhones in other smaller Chinese cities.

The fraudsters are claimed to have stood outside stores with “suitcases full of iPhones” that had been stripped of components, and attempt to hire people to pretend to be customers to return the devices at the Genius Bar. After the iPhones were replaced, the hired participants would hand the replacement back to the criminal and receive their pay.   [Source: AppleInsider]

Power tool thieves pepper-spray LPA

Known Home Depot shoplifters hit a Stanton store Monday, pepper-spraying an employee. State police said two men and a woman, who’ve been tied to thefts in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, entered the location at 1301 Churchman’s Road around 10 a.m. and pushed two carts out the door without paying.

A loss prevention associate employee followed them to a waiting Honda CRV with New York tags, police said, and the woman sprayed him. The thieves then fled with one shopping cart of tools.   [Source: The Daily Reporter]

A reported $1200 in vacuums stolen

Target security, 857 Baltimore Pike, reported a retail theft from the prior evening. A male suspect placed three vacuum cleaners in a cart and left the store without rendering payment. Total value of the theft was $1,299. Security provided the identity of a possible suspect from a prior incident at their Abington store. Detective Dan McNeely is handling the investigation.   [Source: Springfield Patch]

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