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5 Arrested In 13 Florida County Retail Theft Scheme: FDLE

jail prison Handcuffs arrested
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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested five suspects, all from Miami-Dade County, for their roles in a large-scale organized retail theft fraud scheme.

Maike Acosta De Armas, 47, Lazaro Santiago Acosta De Armas, 45, Yusser Echemendia Rodriguez, 42, Elias Ramos Hernandez, 48, and Honasi Diaz Santos, 47, all face multiple felony charges, including an organized scheme to defraud of $50,000 or more and retail theft of multiple items within thirty days at different physical locations.

The investigation began in July 2022 when FDLE Miami agents reviewed a criminal complaint provided by the company’s organized retail crime investigator. The complaint alleged that the fraudster’s operation spanned multiple Florida counties, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

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FDLE collaborated with local law enforcement partners to identify 53 theft incidents across 13 Florida counties, including Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Lucie, and Volusia.

The inquiry indicated that the organized thievery ring participated in a systematic effort to steal the company, resulting in losses of more than $55,000. The plan entailed manipulating the online purse system and taking products that the defendants claimed to have already purchased online. The thieves also “returned” stolen products to retailers in several places using receipts obtained online.

The FDLE Miami Organized Crime Squad spearheaded the investigation, with assistance from the Miami-Dade Police Department’s (MDPD) Retail Crimes Squad.

“This criminal group committed more than 53 thefts in 13 Florida counties, stealing thousands worth of merchandise in a fraudulent systematic scheme. In Florida, we go after organized retail thieves, and now this nefarious group, thanks to the work of our law enforcement partners, will be held accountable for their crimes,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

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“The South Florida community can rest easy knowing the policies implemented by Governor DeSantis earlier this year for stricter punishment for organized retail theft cases will make sure this group of scheming criminals will face the consequences of their actions,” says FDLE Miami Special Agent in Charge, Felipe Williams. “This group hit a large business across the state resulting in profit losses for its stores directly affecting Florida’s consumer population.  The State of Florida and FDLE will not take those crimes lightly.”

The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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