Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance on Thursday said Lakisha Pettus has been sentenced to two to six years in prison for stealing designer merchandise valued in excess of $400,000.
Pettus, 41, stole the merchandise by diverting shipments of luxury goods to and from warehouses and stores, the Manhattan D.A. said.
“This scheme demonstrates the ease with which cyber criminals can scam, cheat and disrupt commerce for their own financial gain,” Vance said. He added that Pettus, hiding behind smartphones, personal computers and aliases, “deceived customer service representatives [and] orchestrated fraudulent shipments.”
Pettus pleaded guilty on July 20 in a New York State Supreme Court to two counts of grand larceny in the second degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree and criminal impersonation in the second degree. Vance’s office said between June and November 2015, Pettus placed more than 200 calls to a shipping company used by multiple luxury firms and “falsely claimed to be an employee of the luxury goods companies.”
His office further said those calls were made after hours and at times when inquiries were generally handled by overseas customer service centers. Further, the scheme included her claiming a problem with a shipment and asking that the package be held until a third-party courier could pick it up and reship to various drop locations in San Francisco. The D.A.’s office also said Pettus would intercept the package.
Among the items stolen by Pettus were “Roberto Coin jewelry, dozens of Chanel suits, shoes, watches, wallets and handbags; and two Patek Phillipe watches, each valued at more than $20,000,” the D.A.’s office said.
Vance said the prosecutors and staff from his office who worked on the case received an assist from the New York Police Department, including detectives from the Financial Cyber Crimes Task Force, and the Walnut Creek Police Department in California.
Pettus, born May 8, 1975, is a resident of Contra Costa County, Calif.