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Michigan woman allegedly stole over $800K in luxury items to resell them online

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A Michigan woman was arrested on multiple fraud charges in connection with a scheme to steal more than $800,000 in luxury clothing and goods from rental websites, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

According to the DOJ, Brandalene Horn, 42, allegedly opened hundreds of accounts on websites designed for women to rent clothing and accessories, and then stole items to later resell them on an e-commerce marketplace, defrauding the clothing rental companies.

She stole more than 1,000 items valued at over $823,000 and sold more than $750,000 worth of the stolen items, federal prosecutors allege.

Horn was arrested in Freeland, Michigan, Wednesday morning and charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, the DOJ said.

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A lawyer for Horn was not listed. A call to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York to inquire about Horn’s representation was not immediately returned Wednesday evening.

Horn engaged in the scheme for nearly two years, from at least April 2022 to February 2024, the DOJ said in its release.

During that time, she opened hundreds of accounts across at least three companies that offer subscription-based clothing rental services, according to the DOJ. Subscribers to those sites can rent and return clothing and accessories, including luxury and designer items.

Instead of returning the rented items, though, Horn allegedly kept them and resold them on an e-commerce marketplace, using item photos and descriptions that “substantially matched” those of the companies, according to the DOJ. Some of the items were pieces worth thousands of dollars.

When the companies began charging Horn for the stolen items, she disputed credit card charges and canceled her credit and debit card accounts altogether, the DOJ said.

This prompted the companies to flag or close her accounts, but she responded by making even more accounts to continue the scheme, the DOJ said.

“As alleged, Brandalene Horn perpetrated a lucrative scheme in which she defrauded at least three victim companies, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of luxury and designer items, and then sold those stolen items online,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

If convicted, Horn could spend up to 50 years in federal prison, according to the DOJ: 20 years maximum for the mail fraud charge, 20 years maximum for the wire fraud charge and 10 years maximum for the interstate transportation of stolen property charge.

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