Canadian man arrested for allegedly stealing thousands from Walmart stores

A Canadian man, Mohsen Akbari, finds himself in legal trouble in the United States, facing charges related to an alleged theft spree across multiple Walmart stores, where he purportedly employed sleight-of-hand techniques to steal more than $64,000 in cash. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri revealed that Akbari was charged with one count of wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property on August 16. Following his arrest on September 5, he pleaded not guilty to these charges during a court appearance.

Elaborate Scheme: Authorities disclosed that Akbari entered the United States on March 1, 2023, from South Korea on a visitor visa. He allegedly embarked on a cross-country journey across the U.S., visiting various retail stores and employing cunning tactics to execute his audacious cash thefts.

Modus Operandi: Akbari’s purported method involved making small purchases while posing as a currency collector. During these transactions, he would request cashiers to display $100 bills while secretly pocketing some of the bills during the interaction, authorities have claimed.

Multi-State Theft Spree: According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Akbari is accused of stealing approximately $33,700 from 30 different Walmart stores spanning nine states between March 23 and June 8, 2023. The alleged thefts occurred across a wide geographical range, demonstrating the extent of his operations.

Escalation of Theft: Akbari’s alleged criminal activities did not end there. Authorities contend that between June 12 and June 15, 2023, he stole an additional $16,320 from six Walmart stores in Missouri and Illinois. This escalation in his theft spree raised concerns among law enforcement agencies.

Expanding Territories: 
The U.S. Attorney’s Office further alleges that Akbari’s criminal activities extended to multiple Walmart stores in Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Maryland between June 20 and July 18, 2023, amounting to a total theft of $13,992. His ability to operate across state lines added complexity to the investigation.

Money Trail: To conceal his ill-gotten gains, authorities claim that Akbari followed a scheme involving depositing the stolen money into a U.S. bank account he had opened. Subsequently, he would wire-transfer the funds to his Canadian bank accounts, obscuring the stolen cash’s origin.

Potential Legal Consequences: The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted the severe penalties Akbari could face if found guilty. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Simultaneously, the cost of interstate transportation of stolen property is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and the same monetary fine, as indicated in the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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