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A Buffalo man is heading to prison following an investigation into stolen merchandise returned to TJ Maxx and Marshalls, including the location in the Falls, without a receipt.

Raymond D. Stover, 36, of Buffalo, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced to serve 29 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $169,330.03 to TJ Maxx Companies, Inc., according to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that between May 2014 and Aug. 18, 2018, the defendant participated in a multi-state scheme to defraud TJ Maxx Companies Inc. by engaging in receipt-less returns of stolen merchandise. TJX operates various retail chains, including Marshals and T.J. Maxx. During the course of the scheme, Stover stole items from TJX stores, and then returned the stolen merchandise without a receipt in exchange for a Store Value Credit (SVC) using identification documents in his name and the names of aliases he used. 

Stover then sold the SVC gift cards he obtained to individuals and pawnshops for cash.

Specifically, on June 4, 2018, Stover entered a Marshalls store on Military Road in Niagara Falls. Video surveillance captured the defendant taking four men's shirts into a dressing room. While inside the dressing room, Stover placed four non-Marshalls shirts, which were concealed under his own clothes, on the Marshalls hangers, and then placed the non-­Marshalls merchandise on a rack on the sales floor. 

Stover then left the store with the Marshalls merchandise concealed under his own clothes and without paying for the items. Later that same day, Stover went to the Marshalls store on Maple Road in Williamsville and conducted two receipt-less returns of the four shirts he stole earlier in the day, receiving a total of $157.08 loaded onto TJX SVC gift cards.

During the course of the scheme, Stover received a total of $149,360.11 in TJX SVC gift cards. In addition, TJX Investigators spent $19,969.92 investigating the defendant.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

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