A former employee at Sturtevant-based Andis Co. has agreed to plead guilty to stealing nearly $550,000 worth of product and selling it with her son and niece to barbershops in Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and Illinois.
Andis manufactures high-end hair clippers and blades. According to plea agreements filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, Bettye Kidd worked at Andis as a lead material handler and worked with her son and niece in a scheme to ship items “out the back door.”
Kidd’s son, Franklin Allen of Quitman, Mississippi, would take orders from barbers for blades and clippers, telling them the prices were low because the products were purchased with an employee discount.
In reality, Kidd was stealing the products and printing additional UPS labels when filing legitimate orders. Using UPS and company records, investigators said the duo shipped more than 1,400 packages between September 2012 and January 2017. The company estimated those packages contained $545,000 in product and the company paid UPS more than $12,000 to ship them.
Kidd was caught after Andis was notified a package destined for one of Kidd’s customers was waiting to be picked up by UPS. The company located the package and determined it contained products being shipped without its knowledge. The company’s surveillance system showed Kidd preparing the label.
When FBI investigators spoke to the recipients of the stolen products, some said they had been buying clippers and blades from Kidd and her son, known to them as Fat Rat, as far back as 2009.
Kidd also worked with her niece, Tracie Edmonson. The owner of a Mississippi barbershop contacted Edmonson after he could not contact Kidd. Over a three year period, Kidd sent 173 packages to the barbershop owner with $63,000 worth of product.
In October 2015, Kidd told Edmonson that Andis had changed its shipping process and the scheme would no longer work. Edmonson was no longer involved, but Kidd continued to sell to the same owner.
Kidd, Allen and Edmonson are all charged with one count of fraud and each has agreed to enter a guilty plea. They each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.