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FBI to Partner with AG Nessel’s FORCE Team to Combat Organized Retail Fraud

LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has entered into formal partnership with the Attorney General’s FORCE Team, a partnership between Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Organized Retail Crime Unit at the Department of Attorney General, established to combat coordinated theft and resale operations targeting Michigan retailers. The FORCE Team operates within the Michigan State Police Department. 

The state’s FORCE Team will work collaboratively with the FBI’s Detroit Fraud and Financial Crimes Task Force (DFFACT) in an effort to squash organized retail crime that crosses state or international borders. One special agent from the DFFACT will be assigned to the FORCE Team, joining a team already comprised of two assistant attorneys general, Michigan State Police detectives, and special agents from the Department of Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Division. 

“I’m very grateful for our new partnership with the FBI and look forward to the continued success of the FORCE Team,” said Nessel. “The addition of the federal authorities to the investigations already underway by our first-in-the-nation team including my department and the Michigan State Police is significant. Our FORCE Team has been pursuing wide-reaching investigations that have already produced multiple charges in just its first months of operation, and this partnership will considerably strengthen the team.” 

The FORCE Team and the Organized Retail Crime Unit were established in January by the Attorney General to target criminal organizations that steal products from retailers to repackage and sell for a profit. Two assistant attorneys general serve the unit full time, working with special agents within the Department of Attorney General and Michigan State Police detectives to investigate and prosecute these crimes. This is a first-in-the-nation unit, unique in the 50 states as being the first such unit with embedded, dedicated staff from the Department of Attorney General. 

The FORCE Team is dedicated to working collaboratively with retailers and local law enforcement agencies to combat organized retail crime. Recent corporate partners on investigations have included Sam’s Club/Walmart, Meijer, Target, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, Rite-Aid, Lululemon, Ulta, and Lowe’s. The team’s first major investigation produced charges against seven individuals earlier this year. Local law enforcement agencies or retailers with evidence of organized retail fraud are encouraged to email the FORCE Team.


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