(News Release) – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that five individuals have been charged with possessing hundreds of counterfeit credit cards as part of an credit card fraud scheme allegedly based in New York. This follows a collaborative investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Clarksville Police Department.
“We in the law enforcement community face no greater challenge than the threat posed by identity theft and credit card fraud,” Hogsett said. “While these charges may represent the end of the road for these defendants and their scheme, the road to recovery for the hundreds of potential victims in this case has unfortunately only just begun.”
“This criminal group used stolen credit card information across the Midwest, defrauding numerous merchants along the way,” said Paul R. Johnson, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service. “Fortunately, alert security personnel and the outstanding response and investigation by the Clarksville Police Department have now resulted in indictment of these individuals.”
The defendants named in the charging document are all residents of New York:
Trevor Hinds, age 54
Paul Roberson, age 33
Blandine Joseph, age 37
Tycia Peterson, age 27
Amanda Adam, age 21
The criminal complaint alleges that on April 3, 2013, defendants Roberson, Peterson, and Adam entered the Sam’s Club in Clarksville and attempted to use fraudulent credit cards to make purchases. Those transactions were declined, and raised the suspicions of the store’s security team, who alerted local law enforcement.
The defendants allegedly then left the Sam’s Club, and store security observed the three meeting with defendants Hinds and Joseph in the parking lot. All five defendants left the parking lot and were followed to a nearby Red Lobster restaurant. Officers from the Clarksville Police Department were advised of their location and entered the restaurant, asking the defendants to exit for questioning.
A search of their vehicle allegedly revealed more than 300 counterfeit credit cards made out in the names of all five defendants. The vehicle itself is registered to a company in East Elmhurst, New York. In addition, law enforcement allegedly located additional credit cards that had been hidden in the men’s and women’s restrooms inside the Red Lobster.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who is prosecuting the case for the government, all the defendants have been charged with the use and possession of more than fifteen counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, and the conspiracy to commit these offenses. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release at the end of their prison term.
An indictment or complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.