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Three Arrested and One More Charged in Organized Retail and Identity Theft

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Three people have been arrested following a Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Theft Unit investigation that found they had worked together stealing the identities and personal information of sixty people, and using that information to defraud various JC Penney’s stores in eleven counties. One other person is still being sought.


The group fraudulently purchased merchandise with credit cards in other people’s names, then exchanged that merchandise for gift cards or cash at JC Penney’s stores. They would then sell the gift cards for cash at a discounted rate.

Each of the suspects will face various amounts of charges, among them are: Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Grand Theft, Petit Theft, Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information-30 or more persons and Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information.

The arrested individuals are:

  • Aramis Shantel Nelson (26) of 1122 Mercury Drive West, Apt A, Lakeland
    Involved in 50 online fraudulent purchases, picked up fraudulently purchased merchandise ten separate times at the Lakeland JC Penney’s store, 3 times at the Davenport JC Penney’s and two times from the Lake Wales JC Penney’s store. She had friends or acquaintances sell JC Penney’s gift cards given to her when she made the fraudulent returns for a small fee.
    Charges– Racketeering (F/1), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering (F/1), Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information-30 or more persons (F/1), Grand Theft (F/3) (8 counts), Petit Theft (M/1) (4 counts). Elevated Bonds obtained on above listed charges ($162,000 Bond).
    Criminal History- 2 Felony charges and 4 Misdemeanor charges that consist of grand theft, driving under the influence, no valid driver’s license, aggravated battery, driving while license suspended and petit theft.
  • Charles Gibson (30) of 731 Venetian Avenue, Lakeland
    He returned fraudulently purchased merchandise on multiple occasions and obtained JC Penney’s gift cards. Assisted Aramis Nelson in locating people who would sell the fraudulently obtained JC Penney’s gift cards at Tampa Gift Card King in Tampa.
    Charges– Racketeering (F/1), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering (F/1), Criminal Use of Person Information (3 counts), Grand Theft (F/3) (3 counts) Elevated Bonds obtained on above listed charges ($106,000 Bond)
    Criminal History– 20 Felony charges and 14 misdemeanor charges that consist of grand theft of motor vehicle, driving while license suspended, false verification to a pawnbroker, dealing in stolen property, battery, burglary with assault or battery, burglary of occupied structure, resist arrest without violence, domestic battery, child abuse, lewd and lascivious exhibition, aggravated battery, burglary of unoccupied dwelling, grand theft, no valid driver’s license and criminal mischief.
  • Da Jah Charisse Scott (30) of 3025 35th Ave. South, St. Petersburg Involved in 7 online fraudulent purchases, which were all picked up at JC Penney stores outside of Polk County. Was captured on video surveillance at JC Penney’s store in Orlando, in the company of Aramis Nelson prior to Aramis Nelson picking up the fraudulently purchased merchandise.
    Charges– Racketeering (F/1), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering (F/1), Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information (F/3) (2 counts), Grand Theft (F/3), Petit Theft (M/1) Elevated Bonds obtained on above listed charges ($104,00 Bond). Criminal History – 1 Felony charge and 11 Misdemeanor charges that consist of retail petit theft, criminal mischief, petit theft $100 or less, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, criminal mischief more than $200.00, aggravated assault.

Still at-large is:

  • Shykiah Rosetta Samoya Byrd (26) of 10410 Paragon Place, Riverview.
    Involved in 7 online fraudulent purchases, which were all picked up at JC Penney stores outside of Polk County. Sold two fraudulently obtained JC Penney’s gift cards and obtained a total of $505.00.
    Charges- Racketeering (F/1), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering (F/1), Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information (F/3), Grand Theft (F/3). Elevated Bonds obtained on above listed charges ($102,00 Bond).Criminal History– 6 Felony charges and 4 Misdemeanor charges that consist of criminal use of personal identification, counterfeiting-falsely making credit card, fraud-use scan device pay card to defraud, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license suspended, no valid driver’s license, operating unregistered vehicle and criminal mischief.

There were three JC Penney’s stores in Polk County that were victims of Grand and Petit Theft: 3800 U.S. 98 North Suite 200, Lakeland; 6200 Grandview Parkway, Davenport; and 501 Eagle Ridge Drive, Lake Wales.

The other JC Penney’s Stores were located in the following counties: Duval, Clay, Lake, Pinellas, Pasco, Volusia, Orange, Osceola, and Hillsborough. These counties are located within 8 different Judicial Circuits.

“This investigation turned up sixty victims of identity theft from all over the United States, and the numerous JC Penney’s stores across Florida. But it doesn’t stop there, because when stores lose money like this, it eventually costs us all. This was outstanding investigative work by our Organized Retail Crime Unit.” 

Grady Judd, Sheriff.

The investigation began on March 21, 2018 when JC Penney’s contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office about fraudulent activity at their stores.

Between October 26, 2017 and April 3, 2018, Nelson, Scott, Byrd, and Gibson (and possibly others) were responsible for making sixty five separate fraudulent transactions online to purchase $21,555.43 worth of JC Penney’s merchandise using someone else’s credit/debit card information. 15 of those occurred in Polk County.

Members of the organization were able to obtain thirty-two JC Penney’s gift cards totaling $10,458.29 (exchanged for fraudulently purchased merchandise), three cash refunds totaling $877.34 and one transaction valued at $303.88 where the merchandise was returned for either cash or a JC Penney’s gift card. Twenty-two of the fraudulently obtained JC Penney’s gift cards were sold at Tampa Gift Card King that is located at 9340 North Florida Avenue Unit F in Tampa, Florida for a total of $4,729.00.

 

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