New Debit Card Fraud Ring Discovered in Coral Gables
This year Coral Gables has emerged as one of the premier Florida locations for fraud claims and allegations. In fact, an innovative credit card fraud scheme was recently revealed that could result in the defendants being sentenced to at least 40 years in prison. At the beginning of December, four residents of Miami were arrested based on allegations that they had committed credit card fraud and account theft in order to defraud 8 major U.S. banks. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation commenced by the U.S. Secret Service, the Coral Gables Police Department and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide prosecution. These defendants were charged with an assortment of first-degree felony crimes such as organized fraud, grand theft and conspiracy to commit racketeering. They were also charged with the third-degree felonies of bank and credit card fraud. If found guilty, the defendants, who are all in their twenties, could each end up spending over 40 years in prison.
The Debit and Credit Card Fraud Scheme
The basis of the fraud revolved around receiving fraudulent payments in response to claims submitted to banks and credit card companies that alleged that the defendants’ debit cards and account information had been stolen.The scam, which was led by two of the defendants who were brothers, involved the opening of bank accounts, into which they then deposited funds. From there, they would travel abroad and subsequently withdraw funds from the bank accounts through the use of cloned debit cards. Upon return to the U.S., the brothers would seek reimbursement for funds that they fraudulently claimed had been stolen from their bank accounts. The Coral Gable authorities first became aware of the fraud after a branch manager of the Coral Gables Coconut Grove Bank reported that they had received fraudulent police reports submitted by one of the defendants. The fraudulent police report submitted was virtually identical to a report that another bank had received and already determined was a forgery.
Law enforcement officials received a big lead in the case after one of the defendants was identified while making deposits into one of the scheme’s fake bank accounts. Upon additional investigation, it was discovered that the brothers had bank accounts at big name banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, BB&T Bank, Bank of America, First Bank Florida, Regions Bank and Coconut Grove Bank. Not only are the defendants being accused of bank account fraud, but additional investigation discovered that all of the defendants allegedly utilized two fraudulently obtained Bank of America credit cards for travel. These credit cards are believed to have been used to purchase plane tickets, and to fund a Dubai honeymoon for one of the defendants. It is believe that a total of $152,196.28 of fraudulent charges were made as a result of fraudulent use of the two credit cards.
Coral Gables has seen its share of fraud-related cases, though most often related to housing and mortgage fraud schemes. However, this newest case illustrates how white collar crime can be commenced through the abuse of basic bank account protections that are intended to provide just compensation to those who have had their credit cards and personal identity information stolen or compromised. If you require legal representation in court over claims of bank account or credit card fraud, please reach out to criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner P.A. in South Miami, Florida for immediate assistance. Mr. Weiner will work to provide you with a solid defense through every step of your case.