SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 6, 2014

Five charged in retail fraud scheme

DANVERS — Those hand-held devices used by some retail employees to let customers check out without waiting in line are not only convenient for shoppers, it turns out.

A group of five employees at Nordstrom Rack in Danvers are now facing charges that they used the “mobile point of sale” devices in a monthslong scheme to falsify purchases and returns — including conducting some of the transactions in the men’s room — according to a police report.

Those employees, identified as Acie Johnson, 27, Desmond Terrill-Avery, 22, Richard Bun, 19, and Nicollette Stainton, 21, all of Lynn, and Nadia Elhaimer, 29, of Revere appeared yesterday in Salem District Court in response to summonses.

The investigation, conducted by Nordstrom security and Danvers police, turned up several ways in which the employees allegedly scammed the store with the help of those MPOS devices.

The devices, which look like a smartphone but are equipped with a credit-card reader, are given to employees at the start of each shift, then turned in before the worker leaves for the night.

In some instances, according to the police report, the employee would ring up a sale for a fellow employee, then void out some of the items so that the co-worker would pay much less. For example, one worker, Elhaimer, was charged with purchasing three coats but paying for only one.

In another scheme using the devices, an employee would process a refund — sometimes for items that hadn’t actually been purchased — by crediting the refund to a gift card or the employee’s own credit card, the report states.

The employees would then use the gift cards to make purchases at the store or other Nordstrom locations, including their full-price store at the Northshore Mall, according to the police report.

Investigators said Johnson, who allegedly netted nearly $5,000 through various schemes, rang up a cash-paying customer at a register on Oct. 31, then, while still standing at the register, used his MPOS to void the transaction after the customer left. He then applied the “refund” to a gift card, which he used later on his shift to purchase items with his employee discount, investigators said.

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