FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Sharp eyed loss prevention personnel at the Home Depot are credited with helping the Broward Sheriff’s Office catch a Lauderhill man who reportedly defrauded half a dozen businesses out thousands of dollars in merchandise.
It began last February when Home Depot employees flagged a number of online orders which were scheduled to be picked up at South Florida store. As Home Depot investigators looked into the matter and began contacting the credit card holders to validate the purchase, they realized the purchases were fraudulent.
Their observation led to three-month investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime unit.
Working closely with the loss prevention departments from several national and local businesses and the U. S. Secret Service, BSO detectives arrested 24-year old Jumoke Williams of Lauderhill in May.
Williams made a business out of placing orders online and falsifying everything needed in order to retrieve the merchandise, according to sheriff’s investigators.
He then sold the merchandise, which ranged from drills and generators to computers and comforters, at pawn shops or on the street.
During the course of the investigation, Williams reportedly made at least 15 fraudulent transactions at six local businesses. He reportedly used at least five different aliases and stolen credit cards from at least a dozen unsuspecting people.
During a search of Williams’ home, investigators found dozens of credit cards, gift cards, personal IDs and tax information of potential victims.
Williams faces a slew of charges including credit card fraud, organized scheme to defraud, criminal use of personal identification information and grand theft.
The National Retail Federation estimates retail fraud accounts for $30 billion a year in losses to retailers. In Florida, it accounts for $106 million a year in lost tax revenue.