FINANCE

Leader in TJX Hack Case Sentenced

BY CSA STAFF

Boston, The leader of a Florida identity-theft ring that used credit-card numbers stolen in a hack of at least 45 million cards of TJX Cos. retail customers has been sentenced to five years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

Irving Escobar, who pleaded guilty in March, also was ordered Thursday to pay nearly $600,000 in restitution, said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office prosecuted the case. The 19-year-old Miami man was sentenced in a Florida circuit court in Duval County.

Five others who were accused of playing lesser roles in a ring that used the card data to buy store merchandise also have pleaded guilty in Florida courts. Four were ordered in August to serve probation, and another was deported.

The ring’s members were charged with using information stolen in a theft targeting customers of TJX, the owner of 2,500 discount retail stores worldwide.

The Florida ring is not believed to have hacked into TJX’s computer systems to steal the data. Instead, it used stolen card data that it purchased from others to create counterfeit credit cards.

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Mr. Men and Little Miss jump from print to product

BY CSA STAFF

MALIBU, Calif. JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced today that it plans to develop and market a line of consumer products based on Chorion Silver Lining’s classic publishing brand, Mr. Men and Little Miss.

Merchandise will include collectible vinyl figures, room decor, make-your-own jewelry kits, electronics’ accessories and many other products based on the iconic characters. The product lines will target the tween audience and are set to launch nationwide in 2008.

“The Mr. Men and Little Miss property has been growing in popularity, especially among the tween and teen audience, with the characters having gained a following with the trendsetters of the fashion world,” said Jennifer Richmond, senior vp of licensing & media for JAKKS Pacific, Inc. “Fans of the loveable Mr. Men and Little Miss characters can look forward to vibrant themed room decor sets, 4-inch vinyl collectible figures, cell phone charms, mp3 cases and more with our new line.”

“This agreement furthers Chorion’s plan to provide a diverse selection of quality branded merchandise to Mr. Men and Little Miss fans of all ages,” said Pamela Ferris-Muller, U.S. vp of licensing for Chorion Silver Lining. “The relatable characters are a perfect fit for the expanding tween and teen market.”

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LakeWest Group announces Hunter Harris new evp

BY CSA STAFF

CLEVELAND, Ohio LakeWest Group, the leading independent retail management consulting firm, today announced Hunter Harris as its new evp.

“Hunter [Harris] adds a new element to the breadth and depth of retail experience that LakeWest Group currently offers our clients,” said ceo Robert Antall.

Harris has nearly 20 years of experience in assisting retailers achieve improved performance through strategy development, operations improvement, and business process reengineering enabled by information technology. He is a former vp from Accenture’s retail practice, focusing on assisting retailers in the implementation of forecast-driven solutions for planning, allocation, and replenishment. Before that, he served as vp of retail for SAP America and vp at Retek. He began his career in retail with BATUS, focusing on retail strategic and financial planning.

“LakeWest Group offers selection and implementation services for a wide variety of retail software products. It is widely known that SAP and Oracle have become strong forces in the retail industry. With Hunter’s SAP and Retek knowledge and experience, we are expanding our expertise and further developing our SAP and Oracle experience base to enable us to better serve retailers in this arena,” said Antall.

“Our goal as the leading consulting firm in the retail industry is to increase our thought leadership in retail ERP, planning, POS, and CRM solutions and build our SAP and Oracle practices,” said Harris.

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