Massive Shoplifting & Gift Card Scheme Broken By Biondi 2

Massive Shoplifting & Gift Card Scheme Broken By Biondi

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—LawFuel.com – Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office today announced the dismantling of a massive racketeering operation resulting in 18 arrests. The defendants allegedly shoplifted merchandise from superstores, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, and then returned the stolen goods for in-store credit loaded onto gift cards. After obtaining the fraudulent gift cards, the defendants then sold them at Cash For Gift Card businesses in Deltona and Daytona Beach. Among those arrested is a father-son duo, Dale Holcombe, 52, and James Holcombe, 27, who are the owners of the Cash For Gift Card businesses.  

According to the investigation, named Operation Plastic Paradise, undercover deputies witnessed the shoplifters take everything from baby clothes, sports bras, and belts to plumbing fixtures and metal hinges. The defendants even recruited homeless people into the organization to shoplift and make illegal returns. One of the defendants, Peter LaPlaca, 48, allegedly sold more than 600 gift cards and profited more than $85,000 in a span of six months. The Cash For Gift Card businesses allegedly bought the gift cards for half of the face value and then re-sold them to Internet-based companies. The investigation revealed that in an eight-month period, the businesses bought more than 16,000 gift cards and profited more than $100,000 per month.

The following defendants have been arrested for this scheme and face the following charges:

Business Owners

· Dale Chester Holcombe, 52, Daytona. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond; and
· James Dale Holcombe, 27, Ormond Beach. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond.
Business Employees

· Matthew Joseph Angell, 27, Holly Hill. Two counts of dealing in stolen property, $20,000 bond;
· Paul Ronald Carpenella, Jr., 23, Edgewater. Three counts of dealing in stolen property, $30,000 bond;
· William James Hooper, 23, Ormond Beach. Three counts of dealing in stolen property, $30,000 bond; and
· Michael Ryan Welch, 22, Palatka. One count of dealing in stolen property, $10,000 bond.
Theft Groups

· Blain Richard Conner, 28, DeBary. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Tonja Sue Harris-Conner, 47, DeBary. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Larry Gene Cooley II, 36, Lake Helen. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Stephanie Ross Cooley, 60, Lake Helen. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Barbara Latrell Gray, 32, Deltona. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Kenneth Gordon Hafner, 54, Sanford. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Nicole Marie Hanrahan, 30, Lake Helen. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Erica Leigh Johnson, 28, DeLand. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· William Charles Kennerson III, 40, DeLand. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Brian Michael Miller, 30, Ormond Beach. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond;
· Roshell Devonne Osborne, 25, Sanford. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond; and
· Bruce Lenner Tiger, 33, Deltona. Racketeering, conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, $20,000 bond.
The Operation Plastic Paradise investigation is ongoing and five additional arrests are expected. The Attorney’s General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the cases.

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