Michigan woman accused of stealing $800K in luxury items from rental sites to resell them online

A Michigan woman has been apprehended on multiple fraud charges for her involvement in a plot to purloin over $800,000 worth of luxury clothing and goods from rental websites, as declared by the Justice Department on Wednesday.

Brandalene Horn, 42, allegedly orchestrated the scam by creating numerous accounts on platforms catering to women seeking to rent clothing and accessories. Subsequently, she purportedly pilfered these items with the intention of reselling them on an e-commerce marketplace, thereby deceiving the clothing rental companies.

Federal prosecutors assert that Horn made off with more than 1,000 items, valued at over $823,000, and managed to sell stolen goods exceeding $750,000 in worth.

The arrest of Horn took place on Wednesday morning in Freeland, Michigan. She faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

During a nearly two-year period, spanning from at least April 2022 to February 2024, Horn allegedly created hundreds of accounts across a minimum of three companies providing subscription-based clothing rental services. Customers on these platforms can rent luxury and designer items, returning them after use.

Instead of adhering to the rental terms, Horn purportedly retained the items, reselling them on an e-commerce platform. The Justice Department contends that she utilized item photos and descriptions closely resembling those of the victim companies. Some of the items pilfered were high-value pieces.

When charged by the companies for the stolen merchandise, Horn reportedly disputed credit card charges and closed her credit and debit card accounts. Subsequently, the companies flagged or terminated her accounts. However, she allegedly countered by creating additional accounts to sustain her illicit activities.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams remarked, “As alleged, Brandalene Horn perpetrated a lucrative scheme in which she defrauded at least three victim companies, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of luxury and designer items, and then sold those stolen items online.”

If convicted, Horn could face a maximum federal prison sentence of 50 years, with 20 years for the mail fraud charge, 20 years for wire fraud, and 10 years for interstate transportation of stolen property.