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PCSO Organized Retail Crime Unit Arrest Suspects Involved In Multi-Million Dollar Theft Ring

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Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime Detectives, working with the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, developed five suspects—all from Georgia—during an investigation that started in August of 2019 at the Auburndale Walmart where three men were conducting suspicious merchandise returns. Two suspects have been arrested, one suspect died of natural causes, and two suspects are at large—both have warrants for their arrest. There are three additional suspects that investigators are attempting to identify.

While much of the country was busy social distancing and taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the criminals executing this expansive retail theft scheme were driving to Walmart stores throughout the country, replacing new televisions with damaged or used ones and fraudulently returning them for a massive ill-gotten pay day. Thanks to great legal and investigative work by my Statewide Prosecutors and Sheriff Judd’s Deputies, the members of this odious retail theft ring were caught and will face justice for their crimes.” – Ashley Moody, Attorney General 


The investigation relates to an organized group of suspects defrauding the retailer Walmart by conducting fraudulent refunds and selling stolen merchandise for profit. The investigation revealed the suspects operated in at least 13 different states through the United States in a seven month time span. Within the State of Florida, it was determined the suspects included in this investigation affected 18 judicial circuits and 39 different counties. The affected counties were identified as Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St John12/4/2s, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia, Walton, and Washington.

The investigation shows the criminal organization has been operating since at least the year 2014. Working with Walmart investigators, records show losses to the retailer during the time of this investigation, between August 15, 2019 and ending March 24, 2020, includes approximately 600 fraudulent transactions that resulted in a loss of about $300,000. It was determined that of these losses, $174,542.45 was stolen from Walmart stores located in Florida. Four verified thefts occurred within the jurisdictional boundaries of Polk County, Florida on August 31, 2019, which totaled a loss of $3,552.00.

Based on evidence showing the suspects have been operating and selling televisions since at least 2014, it is estimated the suspects have stolen approximately $3.6 million from retailers.

Criminals like these are the reason our agency has a full-time Organized Retail Crime unit, working hand-in-hand with loss prevention personnel, retailers, and other agencies, to take a closer look at what might appear to some to be a ‘victimless’ crime. This is not ‘shoplifting’ – this rises to the level of racketeering, and the truth is, everyone suffers -consumers and businesses alike.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff 

The thefts and fraud occurred as follows: Members of the criminal group would purchase large, expensive televisions from a Walmart store for cash, remove the new TVs and replace them with salvaged tvs, return them for cash, and keep and re-sell the new (stolen) televisions.

Click here to see video of the suspects in action.

The investigation began on August 31, 2019 at the Walmart Store located at 2120 US Highway 92 West, Auburndale, Florida, in reference to three men conducting suspicious merchandise returns. Detectives made contact with Walmart Investigators and learned the suspects had responded to multiple Walmarts in Polk County, Florida, to return and attempt to return televisions for cash refunds.

During the initial investigation, detectives identified 3 people who were returning the televisions sets. Detectives learned the suspects had receipts for the televisions they returned, in addition to 5 televisions that were located inside the suspect’s vehicle. The receipts stated that cash was paid for each television and the serial numbers on the receipts matched those on the boxes and the televisions. The suspects were interviewed separately and each provided different stories regarding the reasoning behind the television returns, the locations they had travelled, where they were travelling to, and what kind of work they were performing. Due to the cash receipts matching the serial numbers at the scene, no arrests were made, but the items were identified, photographed and the suspects were allowed to leave: Eric Eugene Grigsby, Jacorri Bentez Holland, and Jorge Robert Ortiz, all who had Georgia residency. Detectives observed several televisions in the rear of the cargo van they were driving—the investigation determined that these televisions were later returned to Walmart stores in Alabama and Florida. The Dodge B3500 cargo van was later identified as having been used throughout the eastern United States as a part of the organized fraudulent scheme.

On September 5, 2019, a PCSO detective conducted an inspection of one of the Samsung televisions returned by the suspects. The serial number on the outside of the box matched the serial number on the sticker located on the outside panel of the television. As the television was turned on, the detective observed the screen to be partially broken. The detective was able to access the television’s control board settings menu and learned the control board identified the television as having a different serial number than those on the sticker and on the box. Other televisions were inspected with similar results: the actual serial number of the television did not match numbers on the box and on the stickers on the outside of the television case.

The investigation identified a business in Smyrna, Georgia, that was sending money to the suspects. Detectives worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and conducted undercover television purchases at the business. Two of the televisions purchased from the business were determined to have been purchased by the identified suspects on February 23, 2020 in Kentucky and then returned with fraudulently substituted broken televisions by the suspects in Deltona, FL and Green Acres, FL on March 01, 2020.

Detectives have identified social media accounts and businesses believed to be used to sell the televisions stolen from Walmart televisions. 

In September of 2020 PCSO detectives provided information to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office in relation to where suspect Chanthan Scott Khouleanghak may have been located. Detectives with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office located Khouleanghak driving a Dodge van and conducted a traffic stop. Upon his arrest, Khouleanghak was found to have 25 televisions in the back of the vehicle. PCSO detectives inspected the televisions and found they had been altered and readied for return to Walmart stores. 70 other receipts were located that showed the suspects had purchased additional televisions and were preparing them for alterations and return. 

Since the initial findings of fraud, PCSO detectives have been working with Walmart loss prevention personnel, other law enforcement agencies, and the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (Florida) to develop extensive evidence and documentation of the thefts from Walmart stores all across the Southeastern United States. The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the case.

Those arrested are:

Jorge Robert Ortiz, 06/16/1994; Lilburn, GA

Charges:

Use 2-Way Communic.Device to Commit Felony; F3

Obtain Property by Fraud >$50,000; F1

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate the Racketeering Act; F1

Coordinate Others Retail Theft Over 3K$; F2

Racketeering Violation; F1

Cheating or Gross Fraud; F3

Criminal History: Georgia: DWLSR

Chanthan Scott Khouleanghak, 02/02/1981; Duluth, GA

Charges:

Directing Dealing in Stolen Property; F1

Obtain Property by Fraud; F1

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate the Racketeering Act; F1

Cheating or Gross Fraud; F3

Racketeering Violation; F1

Use 2-Way Communication Device to Commit Felony; F3

Criminal History: Louisiana: Counterfeiting or Possession Counterfeit Labels, Sale of Improperly Labeled Article, Sound Reproductions w/o Consent; Virginia: Selling or Renting Unlawful Recording Devices, Fail to Show True Manufacturer; Utah: Doing Business w/o License, Telephone Harassment, and Disorderly Conduct

Suspect At Large / Wanted:

Jacorri Bentez Holland, 05/10/1984; Columbus, GA

Wanted for the following charges:

Use 2-Way Communication Device to Commit Felony; F3

Obtain Property by Fraud; F1

Racketeering Violation; F1

Cheating or Gross Fraud; F3

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate the Racketeering Act; F1

Coordinate Others Retail Theft Over 3K$; F2

Criminal History: Georgia: Upbraiding or Insulting a Teacher or Bus Driver, Marijuana Possession, Possession of Controlled Counterfeit Substance Near Housing Project, Theft by Receiving, Possession of Cocaine, Sales of Cocaine

Suspect At Large / Wanted:

Michelle Maki Walker, 03/19/1990; Columbus, GA 31901

Wanted for the following charges:

Use 2-Way Communic.Device to Commit

Unlawful use of a two-way communications device; F3

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate the Racketeering Act; F1

Obtain Property by Fraud; F1

Racketeering Violation; F1

Cheating or Gross Fraud; F3

Criminal History: Tennessee: Criminal Impersonation, Theft/Larceny; Georgia: Forgery, Theft by Shoplifting, Financial Transaction Card Fraud, Marijuana, DWLSR, Theft by Deception

Suspect: (Deceased):

Eric Eugene Grigsby, 03/31/1972; College Park, GA

Criminal History: Georgia: Theft, Trespass, Carry Concealed Weapon, Reckless Conduct, Disorderly Conduct, Forgery, DWLSR, False Name to LEO, Possession of Controlled Drug, Rape, Obstruction, Aggravated Assault, Stalking, Battery, Marijuana Possession

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