Charlotte N.C. Aug 2 2017 - A woman accused of scamming Walmart stores across the Carolinas out of thousands of dollars went before a judge for the first time Tuesday.
Authorities said Valerie Davis posed as a “mystery shopper” at stores in Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Eyewitness News anchor Brittney Johnson was inside the courtroom during Davis’ initial appearance. The federal indictment breaks down the elaborate scheme authorities said she pulled off for months before being caught in the Carolinas.
Authorities said Davis was pretending to be a “mystery shopper” when she hit a string of Walmart stores.
They said she entered stores, shopped like a regular customer and asked cashiers about store policies.
Then, the indictment states she allegedly told them she was a “Mystery Shopper” and used fake gift certificates and also told them how to give her cash back.
Authorities said Davis repeated the routine over an eight-month period, hitting stores in Gastonia, Indian Trail and Huntersville. Each time, she got away with goods and hundreds of dollars in cash.
The indictment totals Walmart's losses at more than $100,000.
Real shoppers were shocked at the scope of the alleged scheme.
"Wow, is that for real?" said shopper Fue Thao.
"Whoa, that's crazy," said shopper Tim Golden.
Davis is facing a charge of wire fraud. In court Tuesday, she was quiet but asked for an attorney. She is due back in court for a detention hearing Friday.
Eyewitness News learned Davis had been arrested before for obtaining property by false pretenses.
Walmart sent the following statement about the case:
“We're aware that scammers are often trying to take advantage of us, and we continue looking for ways to better protect ourselves. We're just learning the details of this case and will assist the courts as needed.”