The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that five residents of Los Angeles County have been charged with nearly 200 thefts, robberies, and fraudulent transactions targeting sellers of Apple products on online marketplaces. Four men and one woman are accused of arranging meetings with sellers to purchase Apple electronic devices, only to steal the items or snatch them from the victims and flee. Some of the defendants allegedly used accomplices to lock victims out of buildings while they made their escape, and they would threaten, attack, or brandish a firearm to deter pursuit. The defendants are facing charges such as Hobbs Act robbery and wire fraud, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Inglewood Police Department, and Los Angeles Police Department.
Complaints Filed Against Five L.A. County Residents
Charges and Allegations
The Justice Department has announced that four men and one woman from Los Angeles County have been charged in federal criminal complaints. These complaints allege that the defendants committed nearly 200 thefts, robberies, and fraudulent transactions targeting individual sellers of Apple Inc. merchandise who used online marketplaces. The charges include Hobbs Act robbery and wire fraud, both of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Law enforcement arrested three of the defendants last week after filing a criminal complaint. The arrested individuals are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. The remaining two defendants are currently in state custody and are expected to appear in federal court in the coming weeks.
The defendants who were arrested last week are scheduled to appear in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles for their initial appearances this afternoon. The two remaining defendants, who are currently in state custody, will have their court appearances in federal court in the coming weeks.
Background of the Case
Incidents of Theft, Robbery, and Fraud
From February 2018 until at least June 2020, law enforcement identified nearly 200 incidents of theft, robbery, and fraud targeting victims using online marketplaces such as Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace. The defendants allegedly arranged meetings with the victims to buy Apple products, such as phones, laptop computers, or other electronic devices.
Use of Online Marketplaces
The defendants targeted individual sellers of Apple Inc. merchandise who used online marketplaces, such as Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace, to sell their products. They would arrange meetings with the sellers through these platforms to carry out their criminal activities.
Specific Locations of Crimes
Most of the incidents occurred in Inglewood, Paramount, Long Beach, and downtown Los Angeles. These areas were the primary locations where the defendants carried out their thefts, robberies, and fraudulent transactions.
Methods Used by Defendants
The defendants would arrange a meeting place with the victims through online marketplaces to buy Apple products. Once at the meeting place, they would either ask to inspect the device and then snatch it from the victim and flee, or they would take a photo of the device and then flee with it. The defendants would often run through apartment buildings to escape from victims, and they would use accomplices to lock the victims out by closing security gates. If pursued, the defendants allegedly threatened, attacked, or brandished a firearm to deter the victims.
Individual Defendants and Their Alleged Involvement
Jamari Deon Turner
Jamari Deon Turner, 21, of Lawndale, is one of the defendants who was arrested last week. His specific alleged involvement in the crimes has not been detailed in the available information.
Jerome Joseph, 25, of South Los Angeles, is another defendant who was arrested last week. The specific details of his alleged involvement in the crimes have not been provided in the available information.
Tyler Russell, 22, of Lawndale, is the third defendant who was arrested last week. Similar to the other defendants, the specific details of his alleged involvement in the crimes have not been disclosed.
Kesai Doss, 23, of Palmdale, is one of the defendants who is currently in state custody. He is charged in a separate criminal complaint filed last week with wire fraud. The available information suggests that Doss allegedly played a significant role in the thefts and fraudulent transactions. Multiple victims allegedly identified Doss as the person who stole their electronic devices.
Ellis Garrett, 22, of South Los Angeles, is the other defendant who is currently in state custody. Like Doss, Garrett is charged in a separate criminal complaint filed last week with wire fraud. The available information indicates that both Doss and Garrett allegedly had involvement in the thefts and fraudulent transactions, with their phones and online marketplace accounts linking them to the crimes.
Linkage of Transactions and Identification of Prolific Thieves
Common Phone Numbers, Emails, and Online Accounts
The investigation has revealed that many of the transactions carried out by the defendants have been linked through common phone numbers, email addresses, or online accounts. This evidence suggests a connection between the defendants and the multiple thefts, robberies, and fraudulent transactions.
Doss and Garrett’s Involvement
Among the defendants, Kesai Doss and Ellis Garrett are believed to have played significant roles in the criminal activities. They allegedly stole electronic devices from multiple victims, used their phones to arrange fraudulent meetings, and utilized their online marketplace accounts to set up the frauds. Additionally, they are accused of selling the stolen goods to a buyer.
Turner, Joseph, and Russell’s Involvement
While the specific details of their alleged involvement have not been disclosed, it is known that Jamari Deon Turner, Jerome Joseph, and Tyler Russell engaged in similar behavior to Doss and Garrett. They also sold their victims’ stolen electronic devices to a buyer.
Detailed Description of Criminal Activities
A Meeting to Buy a MacBook and iPhone
In one specific incident that occurred in June 2020, a victim arranged a meeting with Jamari Deon Turner, Jerome Joseph, and Tyler Russell to sell a MacBook computer. The victim had advertised the computer for sale on Craiglist.
Snatching Devices and Fleeing
Once at the meeting, Jerome Joseph and Tyler Russell allegedly exited their vehicle, pointed a handgun at the victim, and stole the victim’s computer and iPhone. The trio then sold the stolen MacBook and iPhone to a buyer less than one hour later. This incident is mentioned as one example of the defendants’ criminal activities.
Use of Accomplishes and Threats
Throughout the numerous thefts and robberies committed by the defendants, they would often utilize accomplices to help them escape from victims. In addition to using accomplices, the defendants allegedly threatened, attacked, or brandished firearms to deter victims from pursuing them. These methods were employed to ensure the success of their criminal activities.
Scope of the Incidents
Number of Incidents
Between February 2018 and June 2020, law enforcement identified approximately 196 incidents of theft, robbery, and fraud that were targeted towards individuals selling Apple products online. These incidents form the basis of the charges filed against the defendants.
Timeline of Crimes
The crimes took place over a period of more than two years, starting in February 2018 and lasting until at least June 2020. The defendants allegedly carried out their criminal activities during this time frame, targeting victims in various locations within Los Angeles County.
Presumption of Innocence and the Investigation
Defendants are Presumed Innocent
It is important to note that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. While the criminal complaints have been filed and arrests have been made, the defendants have the right to a fair trial and the opportunity to present their defense.
The investigation into the thefts, robberies, and fraudulent transactions was conducted by the FBI, the Inglewood Police Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department. These law enforcement agencies worked collaboratively to identify and apprehend the defendants.
Prosecution and Legal Proceedings
Assistant United States Attorney Kevin J. Butler
Assistant United States Attorney Kevin J. Butler of the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting the case against the five defendants. Butler will present the evidence and arguments on behalf of the government during the legal proceedings.
The charges filed against the defendants carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. If convicted, the length of their sentences will depend on various factors, including the specific charges and the evidence presented during the trial. The court has the discretion to determine the appropriate sentences within the statutory maximum.
Rights of Defendants
Throughout the legal proceedings, the defendants have certain rights that must be upheld. This includes the right to legal representation, the right to be informed of the charges against them, the right to a fair and impartial trial, and the right to present a defense. These rights are fundamental to the principles of the U.S. justice system.
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Public Information Officer
For more information about the case or to request additional details, please contact Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer. He can be reached at email@example.com or (213) 894-4465. Any media inquiries or requests should be directed to this contact.
Central District of California
The Central District of California’s contact information is also provided for further assistance. They can be reached at:
Address: 312 North Spring Street, Suite 1200, Los Angeles, California 90012 Phone: 213-894-2400 Fax: 213-894-0141
This information is useful for individuals seeking additional resources or information related to the case.