Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Retail Theft, Charges 14 Defendants

Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Retail Theft, Charges 14 Defendants


According to a recent press release, Attorney General Ashley Moody and law enforcement have announced the conclusion of a racketeering investigation, called Operation On the Fence, that focused on a large retail theft ring operating in South Florida. The Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSP) has filed criminal charges against 14 defendants who were allegedly involved in a retail theft ring that operated in at least 9 judicial circuits, caused estimated losses of more than $20 million, and targeted at least 20 different retailers. These include stores such as Walmart, Target, Publix, Home Depot, Lowes, and others. The defendants are charged with stealing items such as over-the-counter medications, cosmetics, tools, electronics, Legos, and other household items.

Several agencies were involved in charging these defendants. They included the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Coral Springs Police Department, and the Pembroke Pines Police Department.

Authorities allege that dozens of thieves would steal items from retailers and sell the items to a first-level distributor. The distributor would purchase the stolen items and pay the thieves 5% to 10% of the retail value of the items. The distributor then sold these items to another distributor who owned an Amazon storefront. These items were then sold to customers. The Amazon storefront made an estimated $5 million in sales this past year.

Analyzing the charges 

The retail thieves are being charged with a host of crimes including racketeering. Florida has its own racketeering law that mirrors the federal RICO Act. The RICO Act holds individuals responsible for their involvement in a criminal enterprise. In this case, the retail thieves were conspiring to steal merchandise to fund an Amazon store that then sold the merchandise back to the public. Since they were involved in a criminal organization, they can be charged individually as members of a criminal organization. They are also facing charges of organized retail theft, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, and conspiracy charges related to the criminal enterprise.

Racketeering is setting up or conspiring to set up a criminal organization. In Florida, a RICO charge alleges that an individual was associated with a criminal enterprise and that they willingly supported the enterprise by carrying out the same type of crime multiple times. To be charged under Florida’s RICO statute, a defendant must have committed the same type of crime at least twice.

While there are no mandatory minimum sentences for a conviction of racketeering at the state level, a defendant can face a maximum 30-year sentence if convicted of the charges. A ballpark average sentence for a RICO conviction would be 10 years in state prison.

Talk to a Tallahassee, FL Retail Theft Attorney Today 

Luke Newman, P.A. defends the interests of those charged with retail theft and related crimes. Call our Tallahassee criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2021 - 2024 Luke Newman, P.A. All rights reserved.
This law firm marketing website is managed by MileMark Media.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.