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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Thieves Target Discount Stores

CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Here's the story that might, at first, seem to believe.

Two thieves, using their real names, managed to rip off almost two dozen popular discount stores in Detroit.  Here's how they did it.

Surveillance photos of two brazen thieves at a Sam's Club show they filled out credit application forms using the names of legitimate businesses and included themselves as users on the account.  They had photos taken of themselves and used their actual names and personal information.

Carla Menendez, a US Postal Inspector, said, The most unique thing is essentially how stupid the bad guys were. 

The suspects were buying high ticket items like TVs,  laptops and i-pads then selling them.  Postal Inspectors say it wasn't hard to catch up with this duo once Sam's Club fraud investigators tipped them off.

Menendez continued, Going in and allowing their own picture taken in a Sam's Club, allowing their own personal information to open these accounts thinking they were just going to get away with it.

They did get away with it for a little while and that time gap is exactly what the suspects counted on.  They would usually use an account for two weeks then move on.

Most of these businesses were very large businesses therefore they make a lot of money and a lot of purchases.

In all there were 21 companies impacted and tens of thousands of dollars is losses.  Inspectors say most of the companies were unaware of the charges.

Purchasing a computer laptop is related to their business and wouldn't make them question it unless someone bought it to their attention.

Inspectors say their advice to businesses applies to everyone, always check bank statements and check your credit every year.

Both suspects in this case were sentenced to 12 to 15 months in prison.




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