Canadian accused of stealing more than US$64,000 from Walmart stores

A Canadian man was arrested in the U.S. after allegedly stealing more US$64,000 in cash from Walmart stores across multiple states using sleight-of-hand techniques.

In a press release issued on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri stated that 37-year-old Mohsen Akbari was charged on August 16 with one count of wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Following his arrest on September 5, he pleaded not guilty to these charges on Monday. 

After entering the United States on March 1, 2023 from South Korea on a visitor visa, authorities say Akbari travelled through the U.S. visiting various retail stores and used sleight-of-hand methods to steal cash.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Akbari’s approach involved making a small purchase, claiming to be a currency collector. He would ask cashiers to show him $100 bills and then secretly pocket some of the bills during the interaction, authorities say.

Akbari is accused by authorities of stealing about $33,700 from 30 different Walmart stores in nine states between March 23 and June 8, 2023.

He didn’t stop there, authorities allege. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Akbari stole US$16,320 from six Walmarts across Missouri and Illinois between June 12 and June 15, 2023. Between June 20 and July 18, 2023, authorities accuse Akbari of stealing $13,992 from seven different Walmart stores in Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Maryland between June 20 and July 18, as cited in the indictment.

Akbari’s alleged scheme involved depositing the stolen money into a U.S. bank account he opened and then wire-transferring the funds to his Canadian bank accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The wire fraud charge carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. The interstate transportation of stolen property charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and the same fine.” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated in the press release.


Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.


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