Federal Grand Jury Indicts Separate Fraud Conspiracies Targeting Sam’s Clubs
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted two Tampa men and a Georgia trio in similar fraud conspiracies targeting Sam’s Club membership stores, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams.
Both cases involve counterfeit access devices – debit or credit cards – used at a wide range of Sam’s Club locations to purchase goods or pre-paid gift cards. The Georgia defendants are charged with using counterfeited cards at Sam’s Clubs trailing from Indiana to Alabama, with excursions to Las Vegas and Oklahoma.
“The defendants in both of these cases are facing federal charges because of the collaborative work of the Secret Service Financial Crimes Task Force, Regions Bank and Walmart Global Investigations,” Town said. “We appreciate their work and recognition of the fact that when businesses suffer financial loss from criminal activity, oftentimes the community will incur higher costs and fees,” Town said.
“These indictments will serve as a strong deterrent to criminals who travel across state lines to commit financial crimes in the Northern District of Alabama,” Williams said.
A three-count federal indictment charges SWIFT OGDEN SPEER, 48, and EMERALD SANDERS-JACKSON, 28, both of Atlanta, and CHAKERA DENISE RICHARDSON, 27, of Austell, Ga., with conspiring between January and March in Jefferson County to traffic in counterfeit access devices by using them to obtain money, goods and services. The indictment also charges them with separate counts of using a counterfeit device and possessing device-making equipment on March 16 in Jefferson County.
As part of the conspiracy, Speer and Sanders-Jackson used four different Sam’s Club membership accounts as they visited stores in six states between Jan. 18 and March 16, buying goods and pre-paid gift cards with counterfeit credit and debit cards. They hit stores in Bloomington, Ind., Lexington and Bowling Green, Ky., Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga, Tenn., and Huntsville and Florence, Ala., before showing up in a Las Vegas store on Feb. 26, according to the indictment. Speer and Sanders-Jackson next made fraudulent purchases at Sam’s Clubs in Homewood and Trussville, Ala., and in Edmond, Okla., before returning to stores in Trussville and Hoover, Ala., on March 16. According to the indictment, Richardson drove Speer and Sanders-Jackson to the Hoover and Trussville stores on March 16.
A separate three-count indictment charges PARALTA CHACON, 27, and LAZARO MARTINEZ QUINTANA, 24, both of Tampa, Fla., with conspiring between May and June in Jefferson County to traffic in counterfeit access devices by using them to obtain money, goods and services. The indictment also charges them with separate counts of using the counterfeit devices to make purchases and with possessing device-making equipment on June 21.
As part of the conspiracy, Chacon and Quintana created a Sam’s Club account in a name different from theirs and used counterfeit cards to make purchases on that account at stores in Columbus, Ga., Auburn, Homewood, Hoover and Trussville, Ala., and in Tampa.
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty both for making purchases with the counterfeit access devises and for possessing device-making equipment is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Secret Service Financial Crimes Task Force investigated the cases in conjunction with Regions Bank and Walmart Global Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting the cases.
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