Yesterday, Special Agent Eric Ives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published an article outlining the $30 billion-a-year industry called Organized Retail Crime (ORC).
According to Ives, the organized retail theft of goods is a gateway crime that often leads the Bureau to major crime rings that use the illicit proceeds to fund other organized crime activities like health care fraud, money laundering and potentially even terrorism.
In many instances, organized retail crime groups target several retailers in one day moving from state to state stealing and re-selling merchandise through fencing operations such as flea markets, pawn shops, Internet sites and swap meets. These groups often steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at a time with the intent to resell it for profit. The most popular items targeted by these groups are goods in high demand commanding up to a near-retail resale price, such as designer clothing, gift cards, over-the-counter medicines, electronics, batteries and infant formula.
These thefts force retailers to increase prices to cover the losses, and also threaten public health when crime rings tamper with items such as infant formula or medication by extending expiration dates or repackaging and relabeling the items.
According to the NRF Organized Retail Crime Survey released in June, 89 percent of retailers reported that they were victims of organized retail crime in the past year.
NRF has been cultivating relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies across the country and supporting Federal legislation which is key to protecting both retailers and consumers against the massive economic costs and very real public health and safety risks posed by organized retail crime.
We thank Special Agent Ives for his leadership on this important issue and for the Bureau’s effort in putting these bad actors out of business.