Indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud, man & woman accused of stealing more than $250K in Kohl's Cash

NEW JERSEY -- A man and woman from New Jersey are accused of stealing more than $250,000 in Kohl's Cash.

Pavan Gurram and Vanaja Gattupalli have each been federally indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud.

According to federal court documents, Gurram and Gattupalli were able to use a 'computer process,' through which they learned Kohl's Cash barcodes and the pin numbers to match.

The documents indicate 930 online orders were placed by Gurram and/or Gattupalli between June of 2014 and March of 2015 -- paid for in $257,677 in Kohl's Cash payments, and linked to Gurram and/or Gattupalli via their IP addresses.

Of the 275 Kohl's Cash certificates used as payments, only one was issued to Gurram and/or Gattupalli, according to the documents. The others were issued to Kohl's loyalty rewards members.

Investigators learned from June 2014 through March 2015, Kohl's issued four million Kohl's Cash certificates per month, on average -- one per month to rewards members. Kohl's gives customers $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent in stores or online.

It was determined Gurram and Gattupalli had used a computer process to identify and provide Kohl's Cash certificate barcodes and corresponding PIN numbers.

This process was tested by security officials with Kohl's -- and the process generated barcode numbers and Kohl's Cash balances for approximately 3,000 Kohl's Cash certificates in less than an hour, the documents show.

Between June 2014 and March 2015, the documents show merchandise from 212 of the 930 online orders allegedly completed by Gurram and/or Gattupalli was returned to Kohl's stores -- and 183 Kohl's Merchandise Return Cards were issued -- with a total value of $65,689. For example, the documents show a diamond bracelet that was purchased online in November 2014 was returned later that month -- and $974 in Kohl's Merchandise Return credit was issued as part of that return.

Then, the documents show an online retail entity that purchases and sells gift cards was utilized. From November 2014 through December 2014, 38 Kohl's Merchandise Return Cards were allegedly sold by Gurram. Gurram allegedly received $8,447, and the cards had a $9,827 total value.

The documents show 20 of those Kohl's Merchanise Return Cards were issued upon return of items that had been purchased online.

119 online orders were placed between April 2015 and May 2015, according to the documents.

If Gurram and/or Gattupalli are convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count.