DA Vance: Lakisha Pettus Indicted for Intercepting Deliveries of Designer Clothes and Products


January 7, 2016

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of LAKISHA PETTUS, 40, for stealing designer merchandise valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars by diverting shipments of luxury goods and jewelry to and from warehouses and stores. The defendant is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree. [1]

“A determined cybercriminal’s reach is boundless,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, domestic shipments of luxury goods were allegedly diverted and stolen by the defendant, who used every trick in the book to pull off the scheme, including impersonating employees, manipulating customer service representatives, and attempting to hide her identity by using different aliases and phone numbers.”

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between June and November 2015, PETTUS repeatedly called a shipping company whose services were employed by multiple luxury goods companies in order to divert product shipments and steal the merchandise. The defendant made more than 200 calls to the shipping company and typically placed calls after hours and at times when inquiries were generally handled by overseas customer service centers. As part of the scheme, the defendant used more than a dozen aliases and made calls from more than ten different cell phone numbers, and falsely claimed to be an employee of the luxury goods companies. While impersonating an employee, PETTUS claimed that there were issues with the shipping process—such as a manifest error, problematic loading dock, or storefront construction—and requested that packages be held until third-party couriers were able to pick up and reship the merchandise to various drop locations in the San Francisco area, at which point the merchandise was intercepted and acquired by the defendant.

Over the course of more than four months, PETTUS was able to divert dozens of shipments of high-end clothes, shoes, accessories, watches, and other goods valued in excess of $400,000 using variations of this scheme. During the execution of a search warrant at the defendant’s residence in Pittsburg, California, evidence linking the defendant to the scheme was recovered, including stolen goods, as well as one of the cell phones used during the course of the scheme.

Assistant District Attorney James Vinocur is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Tracy Conn and Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Bureau Chiefs of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Cybercrime Analyst Daniela Damti and Senior Cybercrime Analyst Gina Gargano provided additional assistance with the investigation. 

District Attorney Vance thanked the New York City Police Department, particularly Det. Armando Coutinho and Det. Kevin Woods, and the Walnut Creek Police Department, particularly Det. Holley Connors, for assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

LAKISHA PETTUS, D.O.B. 5/8/1975
Contra Costa, CA

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

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