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ORC 6-8-15




"Operation T-bone" - Fencing Operations Funneling money to Yemen - Steaks shoplifted leads to 11 stores raided & 242 arrest warrants issued for massive food stamp fraud in Alabama - Funding terrorism?  A couple of steaks shoplifted at a Gardendale Walmart three months ago led to the biggest food stamp fraud investigation in Jefferson County's history, and launched 11 simultaneous raids at convenience stores countywide. Led by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, teams of law enforcement officers. The officers and agents were armed with 242 arrest warrants and plans to arrest 17 suspects.

The massive probe, dubbed Operation T-bone, targeted those they say have been cheating the food stamp system to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and sending at least some of the profits via wire transfer to Yemen.

The investigation began in February when Gardendale police arrested a man for shoplifting steaks and some other items at Walmart in that city. When they interviewed the suspect, he said he was boosting the items to give to two convenience stores, and he named the stores, authorities said.

Investigators contacted Walmart's Global Investigations Unit in an effort to let them know they would like to attempt to sell property represented to be stolen to those stores, but when they told Walmart the nature of their probe, they learned the conglomerate was already investigating those two convenience stores for EBT fraud. Simply put, they learned, the store owners and managers were using EBT cards that did not belong to them to buy goods in bulk to sell at their stores. ..."

This is huge for us,'' Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told The defendants are accused of buying the government-issued debit cards from those who legally qualified to have them, and then using them to purchase bulk food products to stock their store shelves. The pervasive scheme cheated the food stamp system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said. The 19 people arrested were charged with public assistance fraud, fraudulent use of a credit card and theft of property.

"Operation Midnight Run" - $1.5M Theft Ring Involving Beer, Tires, Auto Parts, And Beauty Products Busted  An organized cargo theft ring spanning New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania stole $1.5 million in tractor-trailer trucks containing goods including auto parts, face lotions, Guinness and mozzarella cheese and then sold them, state authorities said Friday.

From June 2012 to April of this year, a dozen men conspired to build a network of illicit warehouses and stockrooms filled with stolen goods, driving away with nine trucks and making two purchases of additional products, the state Attorney General's Office said.

The defendants who allegedly stole and fenced the cargo operated the theft ring in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Twelve men have been indicted on charges they conspired in a $1.5 million series of thefts involving tractor-trailers loaded with clothing, beauty products, auto parts, beer and other cargo, N.J. Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Friday.

The defendants who allegedly stole and fenced the cargo operated the theft ring in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, according to a release from the Attorney General's Office. The 12 members of the cargo theft ring allegedly worked together in various combinations to steal tractor-trailers containing cargo from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the release.

The ring allegedly rented space at a furniture store in Hillside, which authorities said contained fish oil supplements, Bell bicycle parts, bedding and juices, all from trucks that had been stolen from different locations.

Manus owned warehouse on Midland Avenue in Saddle Brook, N.J. where Corning catalytic converters - stolen on June 20, 2012 and worth more than $120,000 - were recovered. Manus allegedly fenced goods stolen by the ring, buying them himself or finding a buyer, according to the release. At that warehouse, investigators also recovered pallets of beer - including a large amount of Guinness stout - worth more than $23,000, which allegedly were stolen by the theft ring in Easton on June 22, 2012.

The Thursday indictment stems from "Operation Midnight Run," a long-term investigation by the State Police Interstate Theft North Unit, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Border Enforcement Security Task Force.

● The stolen cargo ran the gamut from $120,000 worth of catalytic converters, $165,000 worth of Moroccanoil hair and body products, $152,000 worth of GNC fish oil capsules, $65,000 worth of bedding, more than $77,000 worth of Bell bicycle parts, more than $9,000 worth of Little Hug juices stolen in Passaic, $201,000 worth of clothing, $143,000 worth of Niva skin lotion, $151,000 of Goodyear tires.

"We allege that this ring was stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cargo and transporting it through New Jersey on a regular basis so that they could fence the stolen products and reap major profits."

ORC Gang member in Saratoga County, N.Y., gets 55 months in fed. prison - $671,183.25 in ORC thefts from Buffalo retailers  A 35-year-old Saratoga County man was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara Friday to serve a 55-month federal prison term and make $671,183.25 in restitution to Buffalo-area retail chains for his role in an organized shoplifting gang that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise. Terry Stewart, of the village of Stillwater, was convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy for his role in the gang that shoplifted merchandise from Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, JoAnn Fabrics, Tops and Wegmans stores throughout the Buffalo area. The shoplifters then sold the goods for 25 cents on the dollar to Rico Vendetti of Rochester, who, in turn, sold them on eBay, mainly to out-of-state customers, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce.

Vendetti is jailed and awaiting sentencing on his felony murder conviction for the death of Homer Marciniak, 78, during a home invasion at Marciniak's Medina home in July 2010, the prosecutors said. Among the items sold on eBay by Vendetti for Stewart and other gang members were breast pumps, whitening strips, cross stitch and needlepoint kits, electric toothbrushes, thumb drives, pet supplements, razors and tool sets, prosecutors said.

Serial refunders busted at Secaucus Walmart store - outstanding warrants in 6 other locations  Temujin Washington, 48, and Sandy R. Allen, 50, were stopped at 4:48 p.m. after trying to return a Slingbox valued at $149 for store credit. Knowing that the item -- a TV streaming device -- was never purchased at the store, Washington and Allen were both charged with theft by deception. According to police, Washington had four outstanding warrants in four separate locations: Clifton for $1,131, Passaic for $372, Totowa for $230 and Woodland Park for $199. Police also said that Allen had two additional outstanding warrants out of Wayne and Paramus totaling $1,641 between the two.

ORC 6-8-15
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