Fraudulent Schemes Investigation Nets Arrest

May 23, 2008

photo of Renata NelsonOn May 22, 2008, Mesa Police investigators arrested 46-year-old Renata Anna Nelson of Gilbert on suspicion of fraudulent schemes, trafficking in stolen property and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

The investigation began four months ago when investigators received information that Nelson was purchasing stolen property and selling the merchandise on auction web sites. Further investigation revealed that between March and December of 2007, Nelson conducted over 2,500 transactions on a particular web site, totaling over $150,000. Nelson continued to sell stolen property on the web site during 2008. Records showed that Nelson conducted over 275 transactions totaling over $50,000 year to date.

In addition to selling stolen property, Nelson was also responsible for running a retail scam. Some of the stolen merchandise that Nelson purchased would be systematically returned to various retail stores by individuals who were employed by Nelson to commit the crimes. The retail stores would often give store credit via a gift card in lieu of cash for the returned items. Nelson is suspected of selling some of the gift cards on various auction web sites and using the gift cards to buy more merchandise. Nelson also engaged in price switching scams at stores where she would place the UPC code for less expensive items on more expensive merchandise. After purchasing the item at a reduced cost, the item would be returned to the store for a refund at full value.

Investigators utilized undercover operations to expose the inner workings of the retail scam. The investigation culminated in a search warrant being served at Nelson's Gilbert home on May 22nd. In addition to locating items of evidence linking Nelson to fraudulent activity, investigators also located illegal drugs that were individually packaged for sale.

Nelson was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on suspicion of fraudulent schemes, trafficking in stolen property, and possession of dangerous drugs for sale. She is currently being held on a $300,000 cash only bond.



Mesa Police Department
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PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211

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