The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office announced that criminal charges have been filed against a Philadelphia woman for organizing an identity and retail theft scheme valued at more than $100,000 that stole from stores across Southeast Pennsylvania.
Myra Reddy, 54, was charged Thursday with corrupt organizations, theft by unlawful taking, retail theft, identity theft and other related charges.
Reddy was one of 26 Philadelphia residents who were charged with insurance fraud last week. In addition to her arrest, the attorney general’s office announced the arrest of 25 other residents during a sweep by th eInsurance Fraud Section’s Western Regional Office.
An investigation revealed that Reddy’s scheme worked like this: Reddy, and others under her direction, stole merchandise from stores utilizing the “box stuffing” method. They would find an item for sale in a store that came in a large box and would remove the large item from inside the box and fill it with smaller, more expensive items from the store. Then they would go to check out, paying for the cheaper large item that used to be in the box. The thieves would later return the items that they had stuffed in the box, often using stolen identities to do so, and receive store credit that they would then sell at a discount to other members of the organization.
Reddy illegally used over 30 individuals’ identities, which she obtained through stolen ID cards, licenses and Social Security cards, in this criminal enterprise. She also used tax-exempt numbers from charitable organizations to avoid paying tax on the items she was “box stuffing.” Investigators found the defendant’s operation was responsible for over $100,000 worth of loss to Home Depots in Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia counties from December 2016-present.
“This defendant stole innocent people’s identities and ran a criminal enterprise that caused significant loss to local businesses,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The investigation began after a routine traffic stop. The defendant presented a license, which was later determined through fingerprinting to be a false identity. A plastic bag lined with aluminum foil was also found inside the car—these are commonly known as “booster bags” and are used to prevent a store alarm from sounding, thereby avoiding detection of stolen items. Other items were found in the vehicle that are commonly used in a retail theft organization, including a few empty purses, a new vanity, a box containing dozens of new-in-box door handles, a box cutter, another driver’s license, and two big boxes stuffed with faucets, electronics, thermostats, another Pennsylvania license, a Social Security card and multiple receipts and gift card returns from Home Depot in Delaware County were also found in the Reddy’s possession.
Police identified at least three individuals whose IDs were found in the defendant’s possession. All three confirmed their IDs had been lost or stolen and that no one had permission to use their identification.
Reddy has an extensive criminal history of retail theft and other charges, and this investigation is ongoing. Bail is set at $500,000 cash and the preliminary hearing for this defendant has been scheduled for April 12th.
Source: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
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