California Attorney General Charges ORC Ringleader for $8M Scheme Across 21 Counties

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced charges against the leader of an organized retail crime operation that spanned twenty-one counties and involved around $8 million worth of beauty products. The scheme also implicated multiple members of the organized crime ring. The investigation was carried out by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Department of Homeland Security, US Postal Inspection Service, in collaboration with Ulta’s Loss Prevention Organized Retail Crime team and Sephora representatives. Allegations suggest that the ringleader paid over seven individuals to pilfer from Ulta Beauty stores and other retailers, subsequently selling the stolen cosmetic items on her Amazon storefront.

“Organized retail crime has significant financial and safety implications for businesses, retailers, and consumers,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta.“Today, we are addressing an audacious instance of organized retail theft and making it clear that such criminal activity will not be accepted in California. As the leading law enforcement official in our state, my dedication lies in actively pursuing and bringing to justice those who violate the law. Ending crime is a team effort.“

“The strong partnership that exists between law enforcement, prosecutors, and retailers is not just crucial—it’s the foundation in the fight against organized retail crime,” said California Highway Patrol commissioner Sean Duryee. “The CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force frequently collaborates with all stakeholders to identify solutions for reducing organized retail theft, identifying current trends, sharing best practices, and share actionable intelligence. This case is the perfect example of collaboration resulting in justice.”

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“Ulta Beauty is proud to partner with the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office on this investigation, and we are grateful for their commitment to this important issue,” said Dan Petrousek, senior vice president of loss prevention at Ulta Beauty. “The rise in organized retail crime affects all retailers, consumers, and communities, and we believe it’s important to take action to deter the criminals perpetuating this problem. Not only does organized retail crime jeopardize the safety of our store associates and guests, but it also results in potentially unsafe or damaged products being resold online to consumers under false pretenses. We will continue to work closely with authorities to decrease the occurrence of retail theft that not only affects our stores but retailers nationwide.”

Allegations indicate that the ringleader sold stolen items through her Amazon store, recruiting young women to steal high-demand makeup from stores. These individuals, caught on surveillance, face charges. Authorities found large amounts of stored makeup at the ringleader’s home. With the help of retailers like Ulta and Sephora, recovered goods were valued at $400,000. Nationwide losses from the operation are estimated at over $7.8 million. The California Department of Justice is charging the suspects with various offenses including Organized Retail Theft, Conspiracy, Receipt of Stolen Property, and multiple counts of Grand Theft.

The thefts occurred in Alameda, Placer, Kern, Contra Costa, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, Riverside, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Napa, Marin, Tulare, San Bernadino, Sonoma, Ventura, and Yolo counties. Pictures of the stolen goods are below:

State of California Department of Justice
State of California Department of Justice
State of California Department of Justice
State of California Department of Justice
State of California Department of Justice

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