Breaking News in the Industry: September 21, 2017

New York man sentenced to two years in prison in international $200M credit card fraud conspiracy

A New York man was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for his role in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the Justice Department, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.Raghbir Singh, 61, of Hicksville, New York, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge Arleo imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Singh was originally charged in February 2013 as part of a conspiracy to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. Members of the conspiracy doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards. They then borrowed or spent as much as they could, based on the phony credit history, but did not repay the debts – causing more than $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.

The scheme involved a three-step process in which the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a fraudulent credit profile with the major credit bureaus; pump up the credit of the false identity by providing false information about that identity’s creditworthiness to those credit bureaus; finally, run up large loans. The scope of the criminal fraud enterprise required the defendants and their conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities.  In addition to the prison terms, Judge Arleo sentenced Singh to three years of supervised release and fined him $1,000.  [Source: Department of Justice]

Thousands of fake hoverboards, worth $1.2 M, seized in Southern California

Sheriff’s investigators on Monday seized thousands of counterfeit hoverboards worth about $1.2 million in Santa Fe Springs, officials said.Deputies who descended on the building ifound 2,500 to 3,000 of the fake toys One person was briefly detained during the raid but was released. The owner of the company storing the hoverboards was not at the location, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement. Officials did not say whether there were any arrests.

Northbrook, Illinois-based Underwriters Laboratory contacted investigators with the sheriff’s Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement Team to alert them about sales of the counterfeit hoverboards, according to the statement. The wheeled toys, which don’t actually hover, have been popular gifts since 2015. Sheriff’s officials said the fakes had counterfeit labels from UL, which tests and certifies products for safety. Officials said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.  [Source: The Mercury News]

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$8,000 reward offered for tips on theft of 21 guns at Houston store

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms announced Tuesday an $8,000 reward for information that could help agents track down the culprits of a 21-gun heist from a Houston area store. ATF, Crime Stoppers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, are funding the reward.The theft happened in the early hours of Sept. 12 at Kingwood Guns. The details surrounding the break-in – including the number of people involved – are still limited.

At about 4:30 a.m., at least one person pulled up to the gun store, according to the release. That person was in a dark, four-door truck. The truck may have been a crew cab Chevrolet Silverado with chrome rims and loud mufflers, according to the release. At least one person got out the truck and used a rock to smash through a window of the gun store, enter the business and nab the rifles. One person was seen exiting the shop carrying rifles, then getting into the passenger side of the truck. A physical description has only been released for one suspect – a man in his 20s between about 5-foot 2 inches and 5 foot 5 inches tall, according to the release. ATF is funding $3,500 of the reward, matched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  [Source: Chron]

Father and son busted with truck full of counterfeit goods

A father-son team was arrested when they drove into Manhattan with nearly $50,000 worth of fake designer duds in their van, law enforcement sources said Tuesday. Jihad Abady, 34, of College Point, and his father Hassan Abady, 64, of Whitestone, were pulled over by Bridge and Tunnel cops at a routine checkpoint on their approach to the Queens Midtown Tunnel Monday morning, the sources said. Officers asked them to randomly open the 21 large, cardboard boxes that were stacked to the roof after becoming suspicious because the boxes were unmarked. The cops confiscated nearly 400 counterfeit sweatsuits marked with designer Polo Ralph Lauren, The North Face and True Religion labels. “It’s hard to believe that people would think these were real designer sweatsuits. They were poor quality, real cheap-looking. And from the musty odor, they must have been sitting in a warehouse for a long time,” a law enforcement source said. All told, law enforcement estimated the street value at more than $50,000.  [Source: New York Post]

Walgreens wins FTC approval to buy 2K Rite Aid stores for $4.3B

Walgreens and Rite Aid went back to the drawing board again and on Tuesday announced a deal for Walgreens to buy 1,932 Rite Aid stores, three distribution centers and related inventory for $4.375 billion in cash that has cleared Federal Trade Commission approval, the companies said in press releases emailed to Retail Dive. Store purchases are expected to begin in October with completion anticipated in spring 2018, Walgreens said in its release. The amended and restated purchase agreement between the two drugstore retailers updates the terms of the agreement Walgreens had with Rite Aid that was announced in June, Walgreens said. Under the new agreement, Rite Aid will retain some 250 more stores than it would have under the June version, the result of discussions between Rite Aid, Walgreens and FTC regulators, Rite Aid said.  [Source: RetailDRIVE]

Loss prevention associate punched, bitten by shoplifting suspect

Two loss prevention associates at Macy’s at Oakland Mall in Troy, Michigan, reported they were punched and bitten repeatedly by a shoplifting suspect. Troy police arrested the 29-year-old Ann Arbor man, who allegedly tried to steal $11 in merchandise from the store. When the loss prevention associates tried to stop him, he allegedly began to fight with them, punching a woman officer in the face and eye and biting a male officer on the hand, forearm, chest area and shoulder. Troy officers checked the backpack the suspect allegedly used to conceal the stolen merchandise. Police say the backpack also contained syringes, a glass narcotics pipe, a bag of pills identified as the anti-depressant Trazadone and a bag of suspected methamphetamine.  [Source: Daily Tribune]

Minnesota woman sentenced for felony shoplifting

A Moorhead, Minnesota,  woman has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for stealing more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from JC Penney in Detroit Lakes. Alexis Beryl Phillips, 30, of Moorhead, was sentenced for felony theft. According to court records, police responded to the report of a shoplifter at Central Market. Phillips was caught after she ran to the nearby McKinley Plaza and tried to hide in a business that was under construction. She shoplifted items valued at $127.

Inside the pickup truck she was riding in, which was parked in the Central Market parking lot, officers found several large garbage bags of items that had been stolen from JCPenney and Walmart. There was more than $1,000 worth of goods from JCPenney and $65 worth of items from Walmart, for a total from the three businesses of $1,322. Phillips appeared Sept. 1 before Becker County District Judge Gretchen Thilmony, who sentenced her to 13 months in prison, stayed five years, and ordered her to serve 40 days in jail, with credit for 40 days served. She was fined $1,000 plus $1,243 in court fees, and must get a chemical dependency evaluation and follow the recommendations. She was placed on supervised probation for five years. [Source: DL Online]



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