HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the arrests of five individuals from the Philadelphia area who conspired together to fraudulently purchase puppies to resell for profit. The investigation, conducted by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police, revealed that these individuals used fake cashier’s checks and counterfeit US Currency to purchase the puppies from breeders in Lancaster County, and then sold the stolen dogs through social media platforms, such as Instagram.
Nearly all the thefts involved high-demand dog breeds, such as French Bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier puppies, some selling for up to $20,000. With over 30 individual instances of theft, this operation resulted in a loss of more than $430,000 for the dog breeders.
“This was theft, pure and simple,” said AG Shapiro. “These individuals exploited the demand for these dogs by not simply being the middle men, but stealing puppies directly from the dog breeders and inserting themselves into a normally joyful process, in order to line their own pockets. We successfully disrupted this operation, but Pennsylvanians looking to purchase a puppy should stay alert, stay informed, and contact my office if they encounter any suspicious sellers.”
Tynise Rivers, Sierra Thompson, Amara Dukuly, Tatiyana Cooper-Laylor, and Darnell Lloyd were all charged with Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Theft, Theft by Deception, and Corrupt Organizations. Rivers and Dukuly’s preliminary hearings will be held October 21, Cooper-Laylor’s preliminary hearing will be held November 1, and Thompson’s formal arraignment is scheduled for November 10, in Lancaster County.
Pennsylvanians looking for a dog should keep an eye out for scams like:
- Online ads offering very low buying prices for popular breeds – too good to be true ads.
Delivery of a puppy where the consumer is asked to pay for transportation costs via a wire transfer to a third party.
- High pressure sales tactics from pet scammers asking for money be sent immediately to reserve the puppy.
- Always consider adopting pets locally and visiting the puppy in person before purchasing.
This investigation was a partnership with the Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Philadelphia Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Suzanne Edwards. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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