Baltimore woman sentenced to five years in connection with retail theft conspiracy

BALTIMORE, MD – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced on Thursday that Lisa M. Williams, 55, was sentenced for her role in a widespread retail theft conspiracy.

The Honorable Yolanda Tanner of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City sentenced Williams to five years’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit a Theft Scheme of $100,000 or more.

According to information presented in court, from January 2017 through June 2017, Williams and others engaged in an organized retail theft scheme which targeted retailers of clothing and accessories, including L Brands (d/b/a Victoria’s Secret and PINK), Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hollister, Luxottica (d/b/a Sunglass Hut, Lens Crafters and Pearle Vision), True Religion, JC Penney and Ulta. The theft ring reportedly stole merchandise from stores located in several Maryland counties including Charles, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford.

Groups of individuals, known as “boosters,” would enter retail stores together, select large quantities of merchandise from store displays, conceal the items in large bags, and then leave the store without paying. The scheme affected stores in jurisdictions throughout Maryland, with losses totaling more than $100,000.

The conspirators used Instagram as an online marketplace to advertise and sell stolen merchandise; discuss prices and brands; and provide instructions regarding how and where to purchase the items. Purchasers were often directed to the home of Williams in East Baltimore to buy merchandise.

In June 2017, Maryland State Police executed a search warrant at Williams’s home. The search recovered 99 boxes of accessories and clothing, many of which had price tags and security sensors still attached. Also recovered was the cell phone of Williams, which contained images and texts relating to the theft and sale of the stolen merchandise.

“Lisa Williams participated in an organized, coordinated scheme to steal and then resell thousands of dollars of merchandise,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Her sentencing brings this case and this theft ring to a close.”

The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and the Maryland State Police, Criminal Enforcement Division, with assistance from the Office of the State Prosecutor, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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