A Sarasota Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit investigation into organized retail crime led to the arrest of a Bradenton man suspected of defrauding Lululemon, an athletic apparel company, for $200,000.
Mark Tilley, 55, of Bradenton, was arrested on Friday after detectives found he had defrauded the company of $200,000 over a 12-month period in a return-fraud scheme, the sheriff’s office shared in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Tilley placed online orders on lululemon.com using several credit cards, often under the names of other individuals, and shipped the orders to various addresses within his Magnolia Estates apartment complex in Bradenton, according to a WFLA report.
Documents say that Tilley would use the same phone number to circumvent Lululemon’s fraud detection system. However, the report said these purchases often linked back to an IP address connected to his email address, the report said.
Essentially, Tilley would get the items from Lululemon and keep them, but he would fast-track a return of the item and only send in an empty box. Once the return box was scanned, he would receive an e-gift card.
According to WFLA, he was actually getting double on the return, as he would then take the items he was supposed to return by mail and return them to a Lululemon store location for additional credit.
He was charged with grand theft over $100,000.
The sheriff’s office said on Facebook, the multi-state investigation was “painstaking,” but they were glad their detectives were able to bring it to a close.