California mom alleged ‘ringleader’ behind $8M retail theft ring that hit over 200 Ulta stores, others: AG


A California mom is accused of orchestrating a nationwide shoplifting scheme that stole millions of dollars’ worth of makeup and clothing from hundreds of stores for more than a decade, according to the California Department of Justice.

According to a complaint filed by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, more than $300,000 worth of makeup and other products were found in Michelle Mack, 53, and Kenneth Mack’s shared Bonsall home when a search warrant was served on Dec. 6, 2023.

Mack allegedly paid for airfares, hotels and car rental costs for up to a dozen women who would go out and steal goods before sending them to Mack’s home. Mack would then allegedly sell the stolen goods at a discount on her Amazon Marketplace storefront.

Her group, which investigators have called the “California Girls,” operated in more than a dozen states around the country, targeting outlets including LensCrafters, Sephora and at least 231 Ulta stores, according to NBC San Diego.

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Michelle Mack with her familyMichelle Mack with her family

A California mom-of-three has been accused of masterminding an organized crime ring that stole nearly $8 million worth of makeup and clothes from stores across the country.

Police uncovered what they described as a “mini store,” filled with beauty products, sunglasses and designer bags, inside Mack’s garage. They also located hundreds of postmarked envelopes that were stuffed with stolen products ready to be sent out to customers, according to investigators.

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Bonta filed 140 felony charges against Mack, her husband Kenneth, and seven other alleged members of the crime ring. The charges include conspiracy to commit organized retail theft, grand theft and receipt of stolen property.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

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Stollen items allegedly found at Mack's homeStollen items allegedly found at Mack's home

Michelle Mack, 53, ran the sprawling enterprise from her home in the San Diego foothills, according to authorities.

“This is a multimillion-dollar criminal scheme. It was complex. It was orchestrated,” Bonta said in a press release from February announcing the charges. “We are not talking about garden-variety shoplifting.”

Bonta said that while the current losses are calculated at nearly $8 million, the investigation is ongoing, and it’s possible the total loss might end up exceeding that amount.

“If you try to make an easy buck off of other people’s hard work, we will arrest you and prosecute you,” Bonta said, as charges were filed. “We are addressing an audacious instance of organized retail theft and making it clear that such criminal activity will not be accepted in California.”

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Mack's 'mini store' of allegedly stolen goodsMack's 'mini store' of allegedly stolen goods

A complaint alleges Michelle Mack was the ringleader of an organized national crime ring that stole nearly $8 million worth of makeup and other goods from stores, including hundreds of Ulta Cosmetics stores across the U.S., and re-sold them on her online Amazon storefront.

Court records also revealed incriminating texts between Mack, her husband and some of the other women charged, authorities alleged.

“I’m not stealing regular I’m going to start filling up my bag quick. So I want to know stuff I can grab in bulks too,” defendant Kimora Lee Gooding texted Mack on Jan. 7, 2023.

Days later, Mack texted her husband, “Even without Lancome we still did well,” and he texted her “Lots of orders let’s get shipping.”

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More stolen productsMore stolen products

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed 140 felony charges against Mack, her husband Kenneth Mack, and seven other alleged members of the crime ring.

Mack’s group regularly stole from a variety of retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Prada, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Luxottica’s Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, prosecutors said.

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An Ulta Beauty spokesperson told Fox News Digital that they are proud to partner with the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office on this investigation, and are grateful for their commitment to this important issue.

Michelle Mack and some of the items she is accused of stealingMichelle Mack and some of the items she is accused of stealing

Mack is accused of running a major retail crime ring that allegedly stole nearly $8 million worth of high-end makeup and other luxury goods.

“The rise in organized retail crime affects all retailers, consumers and communities, and we believe it’s important to take action to deter the criminals perpetuating this problem. Not only does organized retail crime jeopardize the safety of our store associates and guests, but it also results in potentially unsafe or damaged products being resold online to consumers under false pretenses,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to work closely with authorities to decrease the occurrence of retail theft that not only affects our stores but retailers nationwide.”

Original article source: California mom alleged ‘ringleader’ behind $8M retail theft ring that hit over 200 Ulta stores, others: AG



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