A Maryland Heights traffic stop unraveled a five-state, eleven-year counterfeit receipt fraud scheme and sent the five New Yorkers responsible to jail for as long as seven years.
Ishaan Davis, 37, and Ingrid Millsaps, 44, confessed to using stolen clothes, fake receipts and counterfeit identification to steal more than $400,000 over eleven years from stores -- including Ann Taylor, the Loft and the Gap -- in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.
The scheme came apart on November 29, 2012, when Maryland Heights police officer pulled Davis over for a traffic stop. In the car, police found Toshiba laptop computers, a Star TSP 100 Future Print receipt printer, document-making card stock, counterfeit Florida and New York drivers licenses in Davis' name and the names of others and assorted clothing with sales tags attached.
Police took Davis and two co-conspirators -- Shonta Simpson, 29, and William Randall Estes, 23 -- back to their hotel rooms, where they found more boxes of clothes with tags still attached mailed from New York.
Davis, Simpson and Estes planned to return the stolen merchandise for cash using the equipment found in his car, according to the United States Attorney's Office. Estes received a daily wage for his contributions, and Simpson was awarded a percentage of the money from the clothes she returned.
The most impressive criminal mind in the bunch may belong to Ingrid Millsaps, 44, who stole most the merchandise Davis' crew returned for eleven years.
See how much merch Millsaps could steal in one go on the next page. Once, on an order to send more clothes for illegal returns, Millsaps stole $60,000 of clothing and other items during a two- to three-week period.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Millsaps typically stole at least $5,000 within three days. She also stole receipt tape and proprietal store information from retailers, such as Ann Taylor.
Leo Lewis, 33, recruited Estes and helped mail stolen goods to Davis, according to the attorney's office. In Davis' St. Louis hotel rooms, police found receipts from wire transfers to Millsaps and Lewis.
On Monday, the court sentenced the group to a collective 245 months, or more than 20 years in prison. Davis, of Springfield Gardens, New York, and Millsaps, of Brooklyn, were each sentenced to 87 months. Lewis, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 41 months. Simpson, of Brooklyn, received 18 months, and Estes, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to a year and a day.
The City of Maryland Heights Police Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.