Multi-state retail theft and wire fraud conspiracy involving Walmart stores ends with seven Michiganders sentenced
The leader of a nationwide retail theft ring was sentenced in United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan to more than a decade in prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Michigan State Police – along with jurisdictions across the United States, had been investigating a retail theft and wire fraud conspiracy involving Walmart stores in 38 states. Seven men have now been brought to justice. All from Michigan with six of the seven from Benton Harbor including ringleader, Adarius Ferguson. The 31-year-old sentenced Tuesday in United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan to 12-years in prison.
The two-part scheme landing him there impacted hundreds of Walmart stores. The first part of the conspiracy included the theft of high-end electronics accompanied by the legal purchase of matching items. The second half of the plot involved altering the legally purchased receipts allowing for the return of the legally purchased items and those that were stolen. The U.S. Attorney’s office says the stolen items totaled more than $275,000 and the fraudulent returns netted more than $400,000.
Hundreds of Walmart associates were pressured and in one case assaulted.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker noted consumers pay higher prices.