A Farmington, Minn. couple has been charged with felony theft-by-swindle for making 135 fraudulent returns at the American Girl store at Mall of America. According to charges, filed in Hennepin County, the total loss to American Girl was $5,374.
Jennifer Jo Cho and Henry Lim Cho allegedly returned more than 135 items for full price without a receipt on more than 30 separate occasions between Oct. 12, 2013 and Nov. 26, 2014.
An internal investigation by American Girl loss prevention found the items being returned were purchased from a website called Jill's Steals and Deals. Investigators learned the couple received store credit to purchase current merchandise from the store, or received American Girl gift cards that Jennifer Cho sold on eBay.
Both Jennifer Cho and Henry Cho are former members of law enforcement -- Jennifer was most recently employed at the Department of Commerce in the fraud division, and Henry is a former Rosemount police officer. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says people with their experience should know better.
"Police officers, preachers, judges, lawyers -- I think we are granted by people in society with a bit of additional deference or respect," Freeman said. "When people do this it disgusts me and disgusts everybody in the county attorney's office."
On Nov. 26, 2014, Jennifer Cho came to the American Girl store at Mall of America, carrying 11 items that were purchased from Jill's Steals and Deals. When she was arrested by Bloomington police, she identified herself as a special agent for the Minnesota Department of Commerce fraud bureau, showing them her badge. According to the police report, she asked multiple times for "professional courtesy."