• Six Men Charged by Manhattan U.S. Attorney for Credit Card Fraud

    Author : May 24, 2016

    Press Release: Six Men Charged by Manhattan U.S. Attorney for Credit Card Fraud



    The defendants:
    Eric Robinson,
    Eldridge Mitchell,
    Jhaymes Bethel Brown, Jr.,
    Craig Smith,
    Akil Christopher, and
    Kordell Nesbitt.

    U.S. Attorneys at the Southern District of New York, federal court, have charged each of the defendants for 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and 1 count of Wire Fraud. Each charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

    Where: The defendants were charged in the Southern District of New York, and the crimes are alleged to have happened in various United States Post Offices in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

    When: The crimes allegedly occurred in a period of only 4 months, between May 2015 and August 2015. Charges were filed against the defendants on April 26, 2016.

    Why: The defendants, along with a number of uncharged individuals, allegedly purchased various gift cards using fraudulent credit cards. These fraudulent credit cards were usually in the defendants’ names, but were encoded with stolen bank information of the various victims whose information was compromised. In just four months, the defendants charged more than $150,000 in this way.

    How: The defendants allegedly purchased various gift cards, usually American Express, Visa, and/or MasterCard, usually in $500 increments, at various United States Post Offices. These gift cards were purchased with credit cards that generally contained the names of the defendants, but were encoded with the bank information of unwitting victims whose bank information was stolen. Law enforcement found that each defendant used at least 1 credit card with bank account information for bank accounts maintained in foreign countries. The defendants used some of the funds on these gift cards at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and at Apple Stores. A single arrest of one defendant, Jhaymes Bethel Brown, Jr. led down a path to the other 5 defendants’ arrests. Brown was arrested when he attempted to purchase 7 $500 gift cards, and the clerk recognized him as having purchased several gift cards before. Although the credit card Brown provided was in Brown’s own name, the clerk was still suspicious based on her past experiences with him and because he provided her with an expired driver’s license when she asked for identification. This led to her calling authorities, and Brown was apprehended and found with several other fraudulent credit cards on his person as well as a cell phone. He was questioned by law enforcement and admitted his scheme. In the process, he gave up defendant Eldridge Mitchell as also closely involved in this scheme. Investigations of Brown’s cell phone records led to over 900 communications with Eldridge. Investigation of the credit card Brown used revealed that, although the card was in Brown’s name, it led to a foreign bank account which Brown was not authorized to use, and was not in Brown’s name. This arrest led to an investigation of Eldridge Mitchell. In one investigation, Eldridge Mitchell was seen entering and leaving a United States Post Office location on video surveillance. Cell site information from Mitchell’s cell phone led to the same post , further corroborating that it was indeed Mitchell on that surveillance. Investigation of United States Post Office transaction details revealed that Mitchell used a fraudulent credit card during his visit, because the bank account that was tied to the credit card he used was not his, and Mitchell did not have permission to use it. What led to the arrest of the rest of the individuals was a trail of cell phone records of the suspected individuals that revealed communications with more of suspects. This led to investigations of these suspects that led to more video surveillance of these suspects at various United States Post Offices. Investigations of their transactions at these locations revealed that although the credit cards they used to purchase these gift cards were in their name, they were also encoded with bank account information that was not theirs. Defendants Robinson, Mitchell, Brown, Jr., and Nesbitt were arrested on April 26, 2016. Smith and Christopher have not yet been apprehended.

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