Two Plead Guilty In Wire Fraud Scheme
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – A pair of men who were returning stolen or clearance items to local home improvement stores for profit pled guilty yesterday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg to wire fraud charges.
Desirique Darnell Rorie, 38, and Alphonzo Jermaine Christian, 35, both of Charlotte, North Carolina, each pled guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“These two individuals devised a scheme that defrauded a major home improvement store out of more than $400,000.” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Through the hard work of law enforcement professionals in multiple jurisdictions, they have been held accountable for their actions.”
Rorie and Christian admitted yesterday to conspiring to defraud Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. It was part of the scheme for merchandise to either be stolen or purchased on clearance from Lowe’s stores and later returned, at full price, in exchange for Lowe’s gift cards. The gift cards were later sold on the street for cash.
Rorie and Christian also admitted to using several co-conspirators, or “Boosters,” to steal or purchase products on clearance, from Lowe’s stores. They also hired “returners” to return items. These “boosters” and “returners” were paid cash for their services. Often times the “boosters” and “returners” were recruited from homeless shelters, soup kitchens, people off the street or family and friends.
At sentencing, both Rorie and Christian face a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service, the Roanoke County Police Department and the Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day will prosecute the case for the United States.