Coweta Police arrest suspects in national credit card fraud ring
Coweta Police have arrested two men in connection with a national credit card fraud ring out of Flint, Michigan. The arrest occurred shortly before 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2
Taken into custody were Khrishon Karl Ringo, 22, and Demius Nathaniel Jones, 21, both of the Flint area.
Police Chief Mike Bell said his department was notified by Walmart of two suspicious suspects in the store who were acting nervous and trying to pay cash for eight re-loadable cards in $500 and $250 increments. When they began to act suspicious, Walmart security knew something was up.
Bell said stores throughout the company have been told to be on the lookout for possible fraud activity.
Suspects come in with $1,500 to $2,000 in cash and multiple unloaded credit cards. They ask a cashier to load the cards with the money they have in hand and then leave before the transaction is complete, taking the cards with them.
“They usually go to the youngest cashier working at the time as they may be new at the job and nervous,” Bell explained. “When the transaction starts, there are two or three suspects working the cashier at one time. They start saying things like, ‘we’ve got to get out of here, we have something going on. Can you cancel that load and we’ll come back later?’ Somehow the cashier is loading the card without realizing it or is pushing the wrong number. The suspects then take their money and cards and walk out with them.”
The chief said in this instance at the Coweta store, no money was loaded on the cards.
“They were nervous and left,” he noted.
When officers arrived at Walmart, security identified the vehicle the men were driving away in. The car left the parking lot on 111th Street and turned north onto Highway 51.
The report filed by authorities indicated the car traveled over the center line and straddled both northbound lanes for approximately 400 yards. The officer initiated a traffic stop at 104th St. and Hwy. 51.
They reported a “distinct and very strong odor of marijuana,” however both individuals denied they had been smoking it. The car tag came back to a vehicle other than what they were driving.
“Officers went after the car, and the driver violated a traffic violation which is easy to do,” Bell said. “They found drugs (marijuana) and drug paraphernalia as well as several loadable cards. They also found a large amount of cash.”
Ringo and Jones were both arrested on complaints of conspiracy to commit a felony, makes, draws, utters or delivers two or more false or bogus checks, drafts or orders in pursuance of a common scheme or plan to cheat or defraud (total sum value $1,000 or more), possession of controlled dangerous substance (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia,
Additional complaints against Ringo include removing a license plate or affixing unauthorized license plate on a vehicle with intent to conceal or misrepresent identity of vehicle and violating rules for driving on roadways laned for traffic.
Bell said both the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are working on this case.
“This ring has been going on for quite a while,” he said. “This (arrest in Coweta) is a major deal. We need to get this out there. There are other Walmarts that will be affected by this.”
“They (ring) made over $50,000 in Oklahoma alone just yesterday (Friday). We suspect these two, but do not know if there are any more of them (suspects) around here,” the chief continued. “They are coming down I-35 from Wichita, Kan. and cutting over to Arkansas. That’s the route these two were taking.”
This particular credit card fraud ring has included dozens of reported incidents across the country. Multiple arrests have been made thusfar, with losses estimated at $1.2 million.
“The suspects did not resist arrest,” Bell said. “We will try to get search warrants to get their phones. The judge denied the first one, but we are going to go back and prove that they used their phones in the commission of this crime. We are waiting on information from the Michigan State Police and FBI.”
Coweta’s police chief applauded his officers for their work on the case.
“We have two really bad criminals as far as I’m concerned off the road because they have been stealing money left and right.”
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