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Leader of 6-State Retail Crime Ring Pleads Guilty to 214 Counts

Her operation included more than 20 “boosters” and netted $4.5 million.

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A woman in Tulsa, OK has pleaded guilty to 214 counts for her role as the leader of a retail theft organization that netted $4.5 million from the sale of stolen merchandise, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Linda Ann Been, 49, pleaded guilty to conspiracy (one count); wire fraud (165 counts); conspiracy to commit wire fraud (one count); conspiracy to commit money laundering (two counts); and relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity (45 counts).

According to court documents, Been led a ring of more than 20 “boosters” who stole merchandise and over-the-counter products from retailers including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walgreens, CVS, GNC, Reasor’s, Sprouts and others. The stolen goods were sold to fencing organizations, which then sold the products through e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon.

Been and her thieves stole products from stores in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado. She would pay boosters’ expenses when they traveled outside of Oklahoma.

Been provided 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, the practice of concealing higher-value items inside lower-value item boxes and only paying for the lower-valued items. When boosters were arrested, she would pay their bond so they could continue stealing.

Read the DOJ’s full announcement here.

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