Lakeland Teens Arrested in Polk County Fraud

2-Lakeland Teens Arrested in Fraud Investigation, Polk County Sheriff

LAKELAND, Fla. – Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime detectives arrested 19-year-old Solomon Smith of Lakeland and 18-year-old Garrett Sivley of Lakeland for fraud, grand theft, and other crimes against 222 victims. The victims included: car burglary victims, identity theft victims, payroll account victims, businesses, and financial institutions.

On September 22, 2020, a manager at Lowe’s (3525 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland) contacted detectives to report a possible payroll fraud. During the investigation detectives learned that both Smith and Sivley were employees at Lowe’s; they have both since been terminated.

Smith and Sivley accessed employee payroll accounts via the computer and changed the direct deposit information, sending the payroll funds to fraudulent bank accounts before

According to the affidavit, Smith and Sivley accessed employee payroll accounts via the computer and changed the direct deposit information, sending the payroll funds to fraudulent bank accounts before moving the money to cash apps. Three Lowe’s stores were affected (3600 North 98, Lakeland and 2801 James L Redman Parkway, Plant City are the other two stores).

The two stole $11,795 from three employees’ payroll accounts. Smith and Sivley used the stolen funds to purchase cell phones and then sell them on Ebay.

*** No customer information was accessed during this data breech. ***

In addition to the payroll fraud, Smith “utilized more than 30 personal identifications to create fraudulent banking accounts, email addresses, address changes, ecommerce accounts, or to change banking information.” These identifications were stolen during 20 car burglaries, some armed, that Smith committed earlier this year in Lakeland.

“It is amazing that these two criminals come from nice families with nice homes. Apparently they thought they were above the law. I can tell you that is not the case, and we will do everything we can to hold them accountable.”Grady Judd, Sheriff

Smith was arrested on October 15, 2020 on charges related to the car burglaries. Additional charges related to the fraud were added on November 19, 2020. Smith’s charges are:

·        4 counts Grand Theft (F3)

·        1 count Obtaining Property by Fraud (F2)

·        1 count Fraudulent Use of ID with more than 30 victims (F1)

·        1 count Unlawful Possession of ID (F3)

·        1 count Fraudulent Use of Credit Card (F3)

·        10 counts Defrauding a Financial Institute (F2)

·        1 count Money Laundering (F3)

·        16 counts Burglary (F3)

·        3 counts Computer Fraud (F2)

·        3 counts Obtaining Property by Fraud (F3)

·        2 counts Dealing in Stolen Property (F2)

·        1 count Director of Dealing in Stolen Property (F1)

·        3 counts Possession of Counterfeit Merchandise (F3)

·        3 counts Armed Burglary (F1)

·        3 counts Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3)

·        1 count Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device (F3)

·        1 count Gross Fraud (F3)

·        1 count Counterfeiting Goods (M1)

·        1 count Selling Counterfeit Goods (M1)

Smith’s criminal history includes 6 felony charges and 5 misdemeanors. Smith was out on bond related to five open criminal cases. He currently has no bond.

Sivley was arrested on November 19, 2020 and is charged with:

·        2 counts Grand Theft (F3)

·        1 count Obtaining Property by Fraud (F2)

·        1 count Unlawful Possession of ID (F3)

·        3 counts Computer Fraud (F2)

·        1 count Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device (F3)

·        1 count Gross Fraud (F3)

·        1 count Use of an ID without Consent (F2)

Sivley was released on a $26,000 bond.

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