FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said investigators uncovered a money laundering scam using cash and gift cards.
Sheriff Chris Swanson said the “criminal enterprise” was preying on vulnerable cashiers at big box stores where people use gift cards. He said officers knew it was suspicious.
“What they are doing is getting these fake credit cards, and they go find people they can manipulate and prey on…new cashiers that don’t really know the system yet,” said Lt. Kenemer, with the sheriff’s office.
Investigators say the fake cards were made by the suspects.
“All of them basically convince the cashier to do the transaction as cash,” Kenemer said.
Swanson said when the transaction would not go through, the suspects would pressure the cashier.
Investigators say the suspects would purchase gift cards that would be used to buy additional gift cards so the transaction would become untraceable.
Shaheem Wright, who was allegedly part of the scam, was arrested by the sheriff’s office during a traffic stop in February.
In total, 106 gift cards were collected as evidence during the investigation. Kenemer said 91 were purchased during the scam.
“This is grand theft from our stores,” Swanson said. “Ultimately, what happens is all of us pay for it.”
Swanson said a local Target store lost $93,000 over the course of four days.
Investigators are encouraging cashiers to talk to a supervisor if they believe someone is pressuring them.
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