California man is jailed for five years after using 150 fake IDs in 23 states for elaborate $800K retail theft scheme

A MAN’S elaborate organized retail theft plot has come to an end after he was finally caught by cops.

Jaylan Amir Thomas, 27, will spend five years behind bars for his years of wire fraud.

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Jaylan Amir Thomas, 27, will spend five years behind bars for his years of wire fraudCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Thomas, from California, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud plus 10 counts of wire fraud and/or aiding and abetting wire fraud.

In addition, Thomas must pay $664,161 in restitution.

Thomas orchestrated a crew – which included Armia Ta’Jae Timmons, 25, who was also arrested – dating back to March 2022, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The group traveled around the country and rented expensive construction equipment from the home improvement stores, court records obtained by Seattle Fox affiliate KPCQ revealed.

As part of his elaborate scam, Thomas and the crew used more than 150 fake IDs plus dozens of phony numbers to process the rentals.

He also used several different debit cards to pay for the equipment.

But Thomas would then lock his accounts so the transactions didn’t go through.

Once he acquired the equipment, Thomas sold the items – which included vibratory plate compactors and jumping jack tampers – for $700 a piece.

The compactors and tampers were valued at between $1,500 and $2,000 each, according to court documents.

He and his crew stole over 480 of the machines and equipment from 190 stores in 23 states, according to court documents.

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The US Attorney’s Office said Thomas was arrested four separate times in connection to the fraud, but he continued to evade authorities.

“Organized retail theft has exploded across the country, due in large part to the growth of an online resale marketplace,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.

“In this case, we allege the coconspirators hatched a scheme to rent high-value construction equipment and then fail to return it. They allegedly sold the stolen goods on websites such as OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace.

“They traveled through 23 different states and hit nearly 200 stores causing more than $800,000 in losses.

“We are putting a stop to it here in Western Washington.”

Top tips on avoiding scams:

As scams become more sophisticated with the use of artificial intelligence, it is important you know how to spot a scam and how to avoid them.

  • Be skeptical of online deals that seem too good to be true, especially on social media.
  • Scammers will often use tactics to make you panicked so you make quick decisions – be cautious if you are told to take immediate action and verify who has contacted you.
  • Chase Bank warns customers to “never return any unexpected funds without calling Chase first.”
  • Never send money to someone you have only spoken to online or by phone as this is likely a romance scam.
  • Unless you 100% know who you are talking to, never give someone remote access to your device.
  • Never accept help from strangers at an ATM and always be vigilant when making withdrawals.
  • Do not send money or click any links indicating that you have won a prize.

Source: Chase.com

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