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Press Release

Woman Pleads Guilty for Leading a Retail Theft Organization that Netted $4.5 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
15 Others Have Also Pleaded Guilty

A Tulsa-area woman who headed a retail theft organization that caused more than $10 million in losses to retailers pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

Linda Ann Been, 49, admitted to leading the operation in a blind plea. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy (Count 1); wire fraud (Counts 2-166); conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Count 167); conspiracy to commit money laundering (Counts 168-169); relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity Counts 170-214).

In January, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson and Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced charges against 29 members of the organization who were arrested following a joint law enforcement investigation titled Operation Booster Buster. In total, 16 federal defendants have pleaded guilty thus far.

“Cities across the United States, including Tulsa, have seen a sharp rise in organized retail theft. The losses drive up costs for retailers which are then passed on to consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “As shown in this case, my office and our law enforcement partners will diligently work together to identify, investigate and prosecute theft rings operating within northeastern Oklahoma.”

According to state and federal court documents, Been led the ring of “boosters” that netted $4.5 million from the sale of stolen merchandise and over-the-counter products to fencing organizations outside of Oklahoma. “Fences” then sold the stolen products through e-commerce sites, like eBay and Amazon.

Operations were staged out of northeastern Oklahoma and sometimes crossed state lines. Stores targeted include Reasor’s, Sprouts, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walgreens, CVS, GNC and others.

For example, on Sept. 4, 2019, several defendants boosted $1,329 worth of over-the-counter products, such as Flonase, Mucinex, Nexium, Zegerid, and Allegra, from a Reasor’s in Jenks, Oklahoma.

Normally, fences paid Been half the market value for each item. Been, in turn, paid boosters half of her expected profit for each item they brought to her. Financial payments for stolen products were normally made through PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.

Been provided her boosters with a detailed list of items to steal and the pricing she would pay for each. She further instructed her ring on boosting techniques, including box stuffing. Box stuffing occurs when criminals conceal higher-value items inside lower-value item boxes and only paying for the lower-valued items.

Been and her team of boosters stole products from retailers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado. Been would pay boosters’ expenses when they traveled outside the state. She would further pay boosters’ bond when arrested so they could continue boosting.

Boosters would then deliver the goods to predetermined locations in Tulsa, Sand Springs, and Cleveland, Oklahoma. According to the federal indictment, defendants Billy Osborne, Juston Osborne, helped manage the operation by storing stolen inventory at their residences or businesses and by prepping the merchandise for bulk shipments to fences outside the state. Been also stored stolen merchandise at her residences, prepared inventories, coordinated payment, and shipped the pallets of stolen items.

Two co-defendants who helped Been manage the operation have pleaded guilty:

•          Billy Don Osborne, 49: conspiracy to commit money laundering

•          Juston Paul Osborne, 37: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Other co-defendants who have pleaded guilty are:

•          Brandon Jamal Baldwin, 34: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Ambermeloni Charda Crawford, 24: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Amber Marie Clason, 28: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Toni Larae Crisp, 27 : conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Derek James Enloe, 32: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Corey Ray Fields, 44: conspiracy

•          Sharee Nashawn Galloway, 45: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Ashley Nicole Gill, 30: conspiracy

•          Brittany Nicole Harkins, 29: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Amanda Kay Johnson, 40: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Daniel Eugene Payne, 53: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Katrina Danielle Robison, 34: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

•          Karissa Ray Russell, 32: conspiracy to commit wire fraud

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Tulsa Police Department, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Richard M. Cella and Reagan V. Reininger are prosecuting the case with assistance from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. 


Public Affairs

Updated July 14, 2022