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Polk County investigators bust multi-county racketeering scheme

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 18:34:50-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Polk County deputies busted a retail racketeering scheme surrounding JC Penney.

Three people were arrested after an investigation which began in March.

Investigators found they had worked together stealing identities and personal information of 60 people and used that information to defraud the JCPenney’s stores in 11 counties. 

Aramis Nelson, 26, of Lakeland — Charles Gibson, 30, of Lakeland, as well as Da Jah Charisse Scott of St. Petersburg have been arrested and charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, grand theft, criminal use of personal identification and petit theft.

One ring member is still on the loose.

26-year-old Shykiah Rosetta Samoya Byrd has a warrant out for her arrest for allegedly being involved in the scheme. Deputies say she is from the Riverview area.

If you have any information, call crime stoppers. 

There were three JC Penney's stores in Polk County that were victims of Grand and Petit Theft: 3800 U.S. 98 North Suite 200, Lakeland; 6200 Grandview Parkway, Davenport; and 501 Eagle Ridge Drive, Lake Wales.

Other locations include Duval, Clay, Lake, Pinellas, Pasco, Volusia, Orange, Osceola, and Hillsborough counties. 

"This investigation turned up sixty victims of identity theft from all over the United States, and the numerous JC Penney's stores across Florida. But it doesn't stop there, because when stores lose money like this, it eventually costs us all. This was outstanding investigative work by our Organized Retail Crime Unit." - Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Between October 26, 2017, and April 3, 2018, Nelson, Scott, Byrd, and Gibson (and possibly others) were responsible for making sixty-five separate fraudulent transactions online to purchase $21,555.43 worth of JC Penney's merchandise using someone else's credit/debit card information. 15 of those occurred in Polk County.

Members of the organization were able to obtain 32 JC Penney's gift cards totaling $10,458.29 (exchanged for fraudulently purchased merchandise), three cash refunds totaling $877.34 and one transaction valued at $303.88 where the merchandise was returned for either cash or a JC Penney's gift card.

22 of the fraudulently obtained JC Penney's gift cards were sold at Tampa Gift Card King that is located at 9340 North Florida Avenue Unit F in Tampa, Florida for a total of $4,729.00.