Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 03-29-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Jaylan Amir Thomas

Case Number:

Judge: Ricardo S. Martinez

Court: The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Seattle

Defendant's Attorney:

Click Here For The Best Seattle, Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Seattle, Washington criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with organized retail theft scheme.

Santa Monica, California man sentenced to 5 years in prison for organized retail theft scheme spanning 23 states

A 27-year-old Santa Monica, California man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison for his organized retail theft scheme that caused more than $664,000 in damage, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Jaylan Amir Thomas was arrested in May 2023. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud on December 5, 2023. At his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said Thomas “persisted in this crime spree after being arrested and charged in multiple jurisdictions.”

“Mr. Thomas recruited others to his criminal scheme, and thus altered the trajectory of their lives with criminal charges in various states,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Despite advantages such as a stable home and college studies, Mr. Thomas chose fraud as his path and in the process created higher prices for consumers everywhere.”

According to records in the case, from March 2022, Thomas led a group that traveled the U.S., stopping at home improvement stores and renting two types of expensive construction equipment: jumping jack tampers and vibratory plate compactors valued between $1,500 and $2,000 each. Thomas used more than 150 fake IDs and dozens of fake telephone numbers to trick the stores into renting him the equipment. For each rental, he signed an agreement promising to return the machine on a specific date or pay a mounting fine. He acknowledged with each rental that failure to return the machine could lead to prosecution. Thomas paid small rental deposits with one of nine common debit cards, but he and a co-conspirator locked the accounts to prevent the stores from charging the card for the equipment. Thomas and others transported stolen goods in rental vans. He then sold the equipment on online marketplaces for about $700 per machine.

In all, Thomas and his crew stole more than 480 pieces of equipment from 190 home improvement stores in 23 states.

Thomas was ordered to pay $664,161.50 in restitution to the victim home improvement store.

Thomas was arrested four times in three different jurisdictions in relation to the scheme, but it did not deter him. He would bail out of jail and continue the fraud.

The group stole multiple items of equipment from stores in Federal Way, Tacoma, Vancouver, Covington, Longview, Bothell, Everett, Redmond, and Seattle.

Asking for a 51-month prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Watts Staniar wrote to the court, “Organized retail crime like Thomas’ thefts has a significant impact on our communities: An analysis from the Retail Industry Leaders Association estimates Washington retailers lost $2.7 billion to organized retail crime in 2021. Forbes Advisor ranked Washington as the number one state impacted by organized retail theft based on six metrics. Organized retail crime raises costs for consumers and threatens the safety of stores and employees.”

Judge Martinez noted that organized retail theft has been on the rise since the pandemic and costs U.S. residents some $30 billion a year.

“Mr. Thomas's multi-state retail theft scheme not only resulted in substantial financial losses for retailers but also highlighted the complex and widespread nature of organized retail crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “This orchestrated fraud operation, underscores the critical need for collaborative efforts, including robust public-private partnerships, to combat such threats effectively. Homeland Security Investigations played a pivotal role in unraveling this intricate network, emphasizing the importance of coordinated efforts between government agencies and private businesses in safeguarding communities from the pervasive impact of organized crime.”

The investigation was led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Watts Staniar.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case