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Arkansas residents charged after 'selling' over 150 purebred puppies that didn't exist

Two Malvern residents allegedly “sold” purebred puppies that didn't exist to 153 victims, receiving over $110,000 between August 2018 and November 2020.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two Malvern residents have been accused of fraudulently selling purebred puppies to 153 victims from multiple states, receiving over $110,000 between August 2018 and November 2020.

Helda Berinyuy and Thierry Ekwelle, both 31, reportedly used websites to advertise the sale of purebred, AKC registered puppies such as French Bulldogs, Boxers, Toy Poodles, English Bulldogs, and others, when in fact they never had puppies to sell.

Berinyuy and Ekwelle received anywhere between $500 to $5,000 from a victim looking to purchase a puppy from them. 

The defendants would then use aliases to pick up the money that was wired either via Western Union or Walmart transfers at locations across the state.

The indictment claims the two defendants told victims that they would deliver the puppies via airplanes. 

After receiving the initial payment, Berinyuy and Ekwelle would request extra fees to cover costs such as puppy crates, handling fees due to COVID-19, and pet insurance, among other things.

According to the indictment, Berinyuy and Ekwelle have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 22 counts of wire fraud.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI. No court date has been announced at this time.

We will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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