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ORC 3-11-15




Update on the Awwad Criminal Gang - Toledo's ORC gang selling electronics stolen in Toledo sold in Michigan and the Middle East  Twenty-six people, most of them from the Toledo area, were indicted in federal court for their roles in a wide-ranging conspiracy in which stolen computers, smart phones and other electronics were fenced at stores in Toledo and resold in Michigan and the Middle East, law enforcement officials said.

Some members of the conspiracy used firearms, threats and violence as part of their operation. Others illegally cashed millions of dollars' worth of checks at their stores. Others sold counterfeit clothing from their stores. And members of the conspiracy worked together at various Toledo stores to launder money, according to the indictment.

Mamoun Awwad, Adnan Awad, Ihab Awad, Ayman Awwad, Anwar Awad, Kamal Awwad, Fady Awwad and Aref Kahala are family members who own and operate various businesses in Toledo, including clothing stores, electronics stores and grocery/convenience stores. They use these businesses to facilitate various criminal schemes, including the sale of counterfeit goods, trafficking stolen goods and unlawfully cashing checks, according to the indictment.

The Awwad family enterprise bought stolen electronics, such as iPhones, iPads and Samsung cellular phones, from drug addicts and low-income people, then altered the electronics' hardware and software so they could be registered on cellular networks. The Awwad family enterprise then sold the stolen electronics locally, in Michigan and overseas. Mamoun Awwad did this, in part, by meeting with crew members of Royal Jordanian Airlines in Detroit to have them transport electronics and cash, according to the indictment.

The goal of the conspiracy was to generate cash and send it overseas to establish a series of residences in Rammoun, Palestine, for members of the Awwad family enterprise and their families to own and occupy, according to the indictment.

The family unlawfully cashed checks at the Reynolds Quick Stop and other grocery/convenience stores as a way to generate revenue and launder proceeds from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods. The family cashed more than $11 million in checks at various store locations between 2011 and 2014, according to the indictment.

The family also knowingly sold shoes, sweat suits, t-shirts and other clothing bearing counterfeit logos and trademarks of brands including Nike, Timberland, Coogi, Ralph Lauren, RoccaWear, Ecko, Lacoste, Dolce Gabbana and others, according to the indictment.

The Awwad family enterprise used violence and threats of violence to maintain control of the stolen goods market in Toledo. For example, Mamoun Awwad threatened someone with a 9 mm pistol while an employee held a knife of their throat. In another incident, Mamoun Awwad assaulted someone outside a cellular phone store because that person tried to sell seven stolen iPhones without Mamoun Awwad's permission, according to the indictment.

The conspiracy took place from 2006 through 2015, according to the indictment.

"This is a sophisticated crime and money-laundering racket whose reach stretched from Ann Arbor to Amman," Dettelbach said. "According to the indictment, they bought stolen electronics, often from drug addicts in Toledo, and shipped them out of the state and country for millions of dollars."

"The Awwad criminal enterprise used force and intimidation to control their complex network of illegal schemes all in an effort to line their bank accounts with millions," Anthony said. Editor's Note: According to a 'multiple sources' this case ranges anywhere fro $25M to $35M in stolen goods.

11 suspects charged with $742,000 fraud using counterfeit credit cards at Sam's Club in Detroit  Eleven people have been charged with running identity theft and credit card fraud schemes in southeastern Michigan. Angela Patton of Belleville is accused of sharing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan subscribers' personal information with people who then used it to apply for credit cards. Investigators say Patton and the 10 others accused in the scheme stole information belonging to more than 5,500 policy holders from the company's information system. Court records state three of the co-conspirators used counterfeit credit cards to purchase more than $742,000 worth of merchandise from Sam's Club.

ORC female gang member who had Walmart register keys hitting stores across the country arrested in Palm Beach, FL.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Amy Gallo, 52, walked into a Walmart in November 2012 with two other people and took $1,800 in cash out of the register using a register key. Security guards at the store, located at 101 N. Congress Avenue in Lake Park, realized that the theft was one of many happening at several stores across the country. Store employees estimated the group Gallo was part of had taken $10,000 from ranging from Ohio to Florida. According to Gallo's arrest report, she and two of her accomplices were caught taking cash out of a register in Port St. Lucie in January 2013. Gallo and two other men, Forest Gilliam and Garland Ware, were arrested after a security guard at that Walmart recognized them and called police, according to the report. Gallo told Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies in July 2013 that Gilliam was the ringleader of the operation. She said they were all from Ohio and would travel on trips to get cash from Walmarts in a certain area. Each trip would garner upward of $7,000, according to the report.

Central figure in murder-for-hire plot arrested for organized retail crime in Co.
The central figure in the Clarence Gomery, murder-for hire, case is now facing his own set of criminal charges. Dale Fisher was charged Wednesday for organized retail fraud, first degree retail fraud, as we as third habitual offender. On March 5, Clarence Gomery was sentenced to six to 20 years in prison for trying to hire Dale Fisher to kill Chris Cooke in 2014.

Four ORC males steal over $15K in sunglasses from Sunglass Hut in Pier Park, Panama City - Statewide operation - Similar burglaries seen across Florida  Sunglass Hut at Pier Park was broken into in the early morning hours Monday and now police are searching for those responsible. Panama City Beach Police report this was a professional job done by four individuals who knew exactly what they were doing. A picture from surveillance video taken from Monday mornings burglary shows a white car pulled up to the front door of the Sunglass Hut. Police say four individuals wearing masks and hoodies broke the lock on the front door of the business and quickly ripped the security system off the wall so that it would not alarm authorities. "They were in and out in about five minutes," said Captain Robert Clarkson of the Panama City Beach Police Department. "All we know is that this morning a white van pulled in front of the sunglass hut, four males entered with carrying bags, and basically took all the sunglasses that were on display and left -- probably well over $15,000 worth of sunglasses. Police say similar burglaries are going on statewide. A white van has been seen and the same amounts of males go in and they're disguised with hoodies and a mask over their face.

Two women arrested for using counterfeit credit cards at West Palm Beach mall
Two women were arrested Monday after using counterfeit credit cards at the Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach. According to the arrest report, Lekaelin Patterson and Malaka Eckles were using the counterfeit cards to make purchases at several stores in the mall. Security at one of the stores became suspicious and called police. The pair were confronted in the parking lot by police. The police report says the two admitted to buying the cards from someone on Craigslist. Patterson and Eckles were arrested and charged with passing counterfeit credit cards. They remain in the Palm Beach County Jail on $10,000 bond each.

Two women who led Denver-area fraud ring targeting banks, businesses indicted

ORC 3-11-15
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