Authorities in Massachusetts said a 19-year-old student allegedly stole more than $500,000 from her former workplace and used some of the funds to purchase a Tesla vehicle as well as Louis Vuitton merchandise. According to NBC Boston, the accused, identified as Ariel Foster, is a student and track athlete at Lasell University in Newton.
A police report stated she was arrested on campus last Wednesday, arraigned before the court on Friday, and later released after posting a $1,000 bail. Foster, who formerly worked at the Lovisa jewelry store at the Burlington Mall, has since been barred from getting in touch with her ex-colleagues or the mall.
Despite being charged with larceny over $1,200, Foster’s attorney claimed the accused teen does not have any record, adding that she will also seek the services of an investigator. Court records, however, showed that the accused 19-year-old student did not deny committing the crime, and also apologized, the documents claimed.
Detectives with Burlington police said they were notified about a credit card machine breach at the jewelry store on February 22; a report which came the morning after a night shift employee saw the suspect at the store after working hours, a police report stated. The worker had returned to the store after she forgot to sign out of the register.
Investigators also said a review of records at the store determined Foster made transactions shortly after the employee clocked out. The date of the breach is said to have occurred when Foster was no longer a worker at the store.
The employee had also previously seen Foster at the store after closing hours. On the suspect’s last day at work on February 2, she was seen at the store after it had closed. The employee, who had forgotten to sign out again, told police that she saw the suspect in possession of a key chain, standing near the register, NBC Boston reported. The police report also stated that Foster allegedly informed the employee that she was bringing back her key, which was understandable since that was her last day. However, she allegedly remained in the store after the employee made her way out.
Lovisa’s IT team also informed investigators that the store’s CCTV footage had seemingly been tampered with. Foster is accused of making the fraudulent transactions within the course of three days in the month of February. Investigators said her modus operandi involved scanning an item and increasing its price before transferring the difference to a credit card, which was in the form of a refund. During that period, detectives established Foster transferred tens of thousands of dollars to her bank account through a debit card, the police report stated, adding that she did that several times.
Following her arrest, Foster initially told investigators she was not at the store when the fraudulent transactions were made, but later confessed to the crime once she became aware officers had seen her bank statements.
The police report stated that the 19-year-old suspect “began to disclose that she took the money to make her mother feel less stressed and to make her family and friends happy”…” She also stated that she felt unappreciated. Ariel stated that she will take the blame and said, ‘I’m sorry for what I did’,” the report added.
Besides purchasing a Tesla valued at $35,000 and nearly $5,000 of Louis Vuitton merchandise, Foster is also said to have wired $6,000 to Delta Airlines and more than $20,000 to a 5-star hotel in Maui, Hawaii.
“My personal opinion is greed took over. When I first saw the amount, I was surprised. I thought it was a mistake,” said Burlington police chief Thomas Browne. “She would have an item in the store that she would mark up over-priced and then she would return the difference onto a credit card that she owned in her name.”
“At this time there is no indication or belief that she did not act alone,” Browne said. The chief also disclosed additional charges could be filed.