Wal-Mart Loss Prevention Officers Break Major Internal Fraud

GRETNA, La. (AP) - A scam involving refunds for merchandise that was never returned netted two Wal-Mart employees better than $100,000 then landed them in jail, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department.

Cevetra Scott, 24, of New Orleans and co-worker Cherylynn Peters, 39, of Harvey, were arrested after Wal-Mart loss-prevention representatives found that refunds were processed for big-ticket merchandise that never was returned to the store.

Scott is accused of pocketing $106,268 since October 2003, and Peters is accused of taking $2,289.

A manager in the electronics department did an inventory and found several pieces of merchandise missing on July 13, sparking an investigation, the sheriff's department report said. A records check revealed Scott had processed refunds for the items, but that they hadn't been brought into the store, the report said.

When investigators checked security tapes, they saw Scott process refunds and place the cash into her vest pockets, the report said. Scott allegedly used bar codes from computers, DVD/VCR combinations and digital cameras, the report said. In some cases, she used the codes more than once.

Scott is also accused of processing refunds for Peters for television sets and a DVD player on several occasions in June and July, the report said.

Scott was arrested Thursday after store investigators and a deputy saw her process a refund for $753 and put the money in her pocket, the report said. Peters also was arrested that day.

Both women were booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna with one count each of felony theft. Peters was booked with an additional count of simple battery. Scott was released Sunday on a $100,000 bond. Peters was released Friday on a $5,500 bond.

Scott's attorney, Richard McBride Jr., declined to comment Tuesday. Peters denied processing fake refunds, claiming she was fired because she knew about Scott but said nothing.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber said the company typically does not make any comments when there is an open investigation.

"We don't want to do anything to hinder the police," she said. "But we're cooperating fully with this investigation."

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