Feeds

Four charged over $1.5m Wal-Mart price switch scam

Bogus bar codes used to plunder stores

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Two US couples have been arrested on suspicion of masterminding a price switching scam involving counterfeit bar codes estimated to have cost Wal-Mart stores across 19 US states a total of $1.5m over the last decade.

Sisters Julie Marie Simmons (AKA Julie Poore), 35, and Laura Simmons Howerton, 39, and their husbands Michael Poore, 29, and Dewey Howerton, 39 were arrested in Nashville, Tennessee and charged with the theft of $60,000 in connection with the scam, AP reports. Investigators suspect the two couples and up to 30 accomplices systematically plundered Wal-Mart and two other unnamed retail chains for years and stole much more than this.

The gang allegedly used a home PC to duplicate bar codes for cheap products which were placed over the genuine bar codes of more expensive items. Merchandise bought "on the cheap" was either returned for refunds, exchanged for vouchers or sold on at a profit. Police reckon the ring escaped detection for years partly by visiting shops at their busiest times.

According to local reports, police only uncovered the scam after an informant told them about the sale of Wal-Mart gift cards valued at a quarter of their face value by a person matching Laura Howerton's description. Police say further charges against the four suspects and arrests of other are both likely.

The four arrested people are due to appear in court later today (5 January) facing charges of theft punishable by up 20 years imprisonment. ®

Related stories

Wal-Mart attracts more RFID flak
RFID promoter can't stand being tracked
Technology credited with cutting retail theft
Computer bra boob shuts M&S

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.