FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Fort Lauderdale man is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to defraud by selling rented heavy machinery to unsuspecting victims.

According to BSO detectives, 26-year-old Jereome Downing, along with associates, rented equipment from multiple Home Depot stores across Florida using false identities.

Detectives said that they subsequently sold the rented items on an online marketplace, victimizing Home Depot outlets in Oakland Park, West Park and various Broward County jurisdictions.

BSO detectives, in collaboration with the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution, estimate losses exceeding $460,000 to Home Depot and additional damages to buyers of the stolen merchandise. Investigators said they documented the theft and sale of 21 pieces of heavy machinery.

On Tuesday, BSO detectives, in conjunction with Miami-Dade Organized Retail Crime detectives, apprehended Downing in Fort Lauderdale on a warrant for two dozen criminal charges related to the fraudulent scheme.

BSO said that the investigation remains ongoing, with further arrests anticipated.

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