California mom indicted for running multi-state crime ring

BONSALL, CA – Allegations have surfaced against a California woman, accusing her of masterminding a nationwide theft operation that swindled retail stores out of millions of dollars over a period exceeding a decade, according to the California Department of Justice.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a complaint, revealing that the Bonsall home of 53-year-old Michelle Mack and her husband Kenneth Mack was discovered to contain stolen goods worth more than $300,000 during a search warrant execution on December 6, 2023.

It is believed that Mack financed air travel, hotel stays, and car rentals for a group of women who would then steal items and ship them back to Mack’s residence. These stolen goods were then allegedly resold at a lower price on Mack’s Amazon Marketplace storefront.

Investigators have named the group the “California Girls,” who reportedly operated in multiple states across the country, targeting retailers such as LensCrafters, Sephora, and at least 231 Ulta stores.

During a search of Mack’s garage, authorities came across what they described as a “mini store,” stocked with beauty products, sunglasses, and designer bags. They also found hundreds of postmarked envelopes filled with stolen merchandise, ready to be shipped out to customers.

Mack, her husband, and seven others have been hit with 140 felony charges, including conspiracy to commit organized retail theft, grand theft, and receipt of stolen property. All the defendants have entered not guilty pleas.

“This is a multimillion-dollar criminal scheme. It was complex. It was orchestrated,” Bonta stated in a February press release announcing the charges. He also noted that while the current losses are estimated at nearly $8 million, the investigation is ongoing and the total loss might end up exceeding this amount.

The group led by Mack is reported to have frequently targeted a variety of retailers including Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Prada, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Luxottica’s Sunglass Hut, and LensCrafters.