Gayle Enters No Contest Plea in Fraud Scheme Case

By: LCSO Press Release/ Amy Long, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro Email
By: LCSO Press Release/ Amy Long, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro Email

[UPDATE] November 3, 2011

A 19-year-old serving federal time for a credit card scheme faced a judge in state court Thursday morning.

Imanuel Gayle pleaded no contest to 20 different counts, the bulk of which are credit card fraud cases.

The judge sentenced Gayle to 25 months in prison and four years of probation.

His time will be served in federal prison because of a two-year sentenced he's already serving.

The court says Gayle, who is the son of Rickards High School's principal, bought credit card numbers online to buy various items.

For some of the cases, he has to pay $3,264 in restitution. Restitution amount for other counts has not yet been determined.

___________________________________

[UPDATE] November 3, 2011 - 9:30am

Imanuel Gayle withdrew his guilty plea and entered a no contest plea this morning. The 19-year-old faced several charges related to fraudulent use of credit cards.

The judge sentenced Gayle to 25 months in prison. It is to be served concurrently with his federal sentence.

_____________________________________

UPDATED 10.24,2011 by Julie Montanaro

A former Home Depot employee accused of racking up more than $50,000 in fraudulent credit card transactions has just been sentenced in federal court.

Federal court records show that Immanuel Gayle, the son of Rickards principal Dr. Michelle Gayle, was sentenced to two years and one month in prison followed by four years of supervised release. He will also have to pay back more than $57,000 in restitution to his victims.

The federal sentence comes in the wake of a three count federal indictment and subsequent guilty plea.

Gayle still has to stand trial on more than 20 theft and fraud counts in state court. His next court date in Leon County is December 15th.

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UPDATE 4-6-2011

Tallahassee, FL - Tallahassee resident Imanuel Weston Ricardo Gayle, 18, has been indicted for conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

The three-count indictment filed today in United States District Court in Tallahassee alleges that Gayle, the son of Rickards principal Dr. Michelle Gayle, used a portable magnetic strip reader to steal customers' credit and debit card account information while he was working as a sales clerk for Home Depot on Northwest Capital Circle in November and December of last year.

If convicted, defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment on each count.

Attached is the U.S. Department of Justice press release.

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Updated 12-16 6:47pm

A credit card skimming scheme at Home Depot made headlines earlier this week. Now we know the young man arrested is in even deeper trouble than that.

The 18-year-old son of the Rickards High School principal faces charges of grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, fraudulent use of credit card and more.

A probable cause affidavit for then 17-year-old Imanuel Gayle is eleven pages long; and it shows the list of people whose credit card numbers he bought online and used is quite lengthy as well.

An 18-year-old employee at Home Depot on Capital Circle Northwest in Tallahassee was arrested for stealing customers' credit card numbers with a skimmer.

But, authorities say Imanuel Gayle's financial schemes began before that December 10th bust.

He was arrested as a student in April after being caught using computers at Rickards High School to fraudulently use other people's credit card numbers, right under the nose of the principal, Michelle Gayle, who's also his mother.

Rickards student Cedric Holder said, "I heard he'll just sell anything he can get his hands on, from ipods to class essays to whatever he had. He sold it for low, too. Sixty dollars for a good ipod, that's a deal."

The probable cause affidavit says Gayle admitted to buying 50 credit card numbers belonging to people all over the country for $50 over the Internet.

The report says he confessed to buying seven ipods at local Walmart and Target stores, which he then sold to students at Rickards for $75 each.

Margot Avery in New York was contacted about unusual charges on her account.

Eyewitness News spoke to her by phone. Avery said, "It's very upsetting. I feel like I got off rather cheaply because the credit card company took care of it all and it wasn't all that much anyway. I guess because he took so many credit cards."

Authorities say that more than $24,000 worth of fraudulent credit card charges were processed through one of Gayle's accounts, individually ranging from $50 to $1,000.

One victim alone has eleven charges to his name, five of them are in the $900 range.

Rickards student Samuel Ichite said, "It's a sad situation. I hope he can get through it."

Authorities say Gayle even had items that he fraudulently bought mailed to the school address.

The affidavit says he also rented a mailbox from Pak Mail off Apalachee Parkway so that his parents would not see what was being mailed to him. Authorities say he admitted to paying for that with stolen credit card numbers.

A manager at Home Depot says because Gayle was only 17 at the time, Gayle's credit card fraud warrant did not show up when they did a background check.

The manager says Gayle had only been working there for about a month.

The following is a statement from James S. Rickards High Principal Michelle Gayle:

"My family is going through some personal matters regarding our son at this time. This unfortunate family matter has no bearing on James S. Rickards High School. My family would appreciate our privacy while dealing with this personal matter.
Thank you."

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[UPDATE] 12-16 1:00PM

The following is a statement from James S. Rickards High Principal Michelle Gayle:

"My family is going through some personal matters regarding our son at this time. This unfortunate family matter has no bearing on James S. Rickards High School. My family would appreciate our privacy while dealing with this personal matter.
Thank you."

_______________________________

UPDATE 10pm 12/15/2010

Leon County School Board confirms Imanuel Gayle is the son of Rickards High School principal, Michelle Gayle.

Arrest papers show Gayle is charged with 17 counts of use of a card scanning device to defraud.

Gayle had the skimmer set up at a register at this Home Depot on Capital Circle NW.

WCTV requested his arrest history which revealed this is *not Gayle's first time being accused in financial fraud crimes.

Jason Wald man a Rickards High School Senior says, "I mean I'm 18 years old and it just didn't seem like- I've met him a few times, Imanuel. He seemed like a nice kid, I didn't think he would do anything like that. I'm really shocked that Doctor Gayle's son would do something like that."

Gayle's November 1st arrest is based on a warrant stemming from an April fraud investigation.

WCTV is still waiting on the exact details about his previous charges.

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On December 8, 2010 the Loss Prevention Officer from The Home Depot store located at 1490 Capital Circle Northwest contacted the United States Secret Service about an employee who had been observed stealing credit card information from customers. Special Agents from the United States Secret Service then contacted the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department about the possibility that customers were being victimized while shopping at The Home Depot.

The subsequent investigation revealed that Imanuel Gayle, 18, had been using a device to scan unsuspecting customers’ credit and debit cards as they were making legitimate purchases from the store. During an undercover operation on December 10, 2010 law enforcement officers from the Secret Service, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office observed Gayle “skim” card information from citizens, a federal agent and a detective.

LCSO served a search warrant at Gayle’s residence which is located at 3994 Magellan Trail. Detectives seized skimmers, computers, computer software and cash as evidence. Loss Prevention Officers from the store were instrumental in providing substantial information to law
enforcement.

Gayle was arrested and taken to the Leon County Jail. This investigation is continuing and additional charges are likely.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone shopping with credit or debit cards during this holiday season to always maintain visual contact of their card, question multiple swipes and conceal
PIN numbers when conducting purchases.

Gayle was charged with: Criminal Use of, Personal Identification Information 10 or More, Organized Scheme to Defraud, Use of Scanning Device to Defraud (17 counts), Possession of Tools for the
Manufacture of Credit Cards, Grand Theft.


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  • by Anonymous on Dec 23, 2011 at 08:51 AM
    I was one of manny's closest friends and personally knew Dr. Gayle and Mr. Gayle for that matter. Manny was lying to everyone and nobody knew what he was doing. I didn't even find out until after he had been arrest and we've known each other since we were nine ( I'm 18 now). Don't blame his mother for what happened. Manny is a very smart young man and he knew exactly what he was doing
  • by BSB on Nov 3, 2011 at 06:54 AM
    If you think a son of a principal is bad, you should meet a son of a preacher or a sheriff.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 26, 2011 at 08:01 PM
    Does anyone find it strange that there is not one mention of this story in the Tallahassee Democrat? Nevermind the fact that this is the son of Rickards principal...this was a major story and there isn't any word about the conviction? I think the school officials are in bed with the Democrat.
  • by Danu Location: Tally on Oct 25, 2011 at 08:07 AM
    I am white, college educated, fully employed and have an excellent credit rating earned by just paying my bills when they were due. I actually have some serious savings in the bank and very minimum personal debt. So by most standards, I am a good citizen add church attending and I might be a Saint to some. My son is white, bright, and enrolled in Rickards' IB program. My son enjoys Rickards and has found it to be a safe and educating environment sensitive to students needs. Go figure...surprised by that fact! My son IS a racial minority at that school. He has experienced no problems with other students. Ms. Gayle is an excellent principle at Rickards. She has done wonderful things for the students at Rickards High. She is respected by her staff, her teachers and her students...that says allot all on its own. Teenagers often keep secrets very well from their parents. If Ms. Gayle is like most Mother's, she wants to think the best of her bright son and may not have been looking for any deceptive practices in her child and simply missed his questionable activities by accepting whatever 'story' he told her when questioned. No surprise there if you have raised a teenager, you will eventually discover they do cover their tracks well enough, and often very successfully from their parents. Hind site is 20/20 as a parent. Kids these days are crafty and technology superstars. All of us are supposedly ~Innocent until found guilty in a court of law~. If all kids in Leon County having non-violent legal troubles were expelled from school BEFORE being judged guilty and sentenced, I suspect Leon schools would really miss revenue from their missed attendance. I suspect the other High Schools in Leon County can attest to that fact.
    • reply
      by anon on Oct 25, 2011 at 02:12 PM in reply to Danu
      i attended rickards years ago, and personally know ms. gayle. you, unfortunately, are missing some of the facts. her ability as a principal are not what matters here...this is a criminal matter. yes teenagers keep VERY good secrets, but it is mind boggling to believe that he was able to hide thousands of dollars worth of stolen/illegally obtained merchandise in her own house. she also knew what was going on because he had already been in trouble for it, so she should've been keeping an eye out.
  • by anon Location: Tallahassee on Oct 24, 2011 at 08:53 PM
    All of you who keep saying his mother didn't know and that he was of age are ignoring the facts. In earlier videos, we saw that Rickards students commented on his selling I-Pods and other goods at the school while he was a student there (that was before he turned 18). He was keeping the stuff in their house then before he was arrested the first time and then it was found there when he was arrested the second time. He was having things shipped to the school and using school computers to commit the crimes. He was first arrested for all of this in APRIL 2010 from what he did AT RICKARDS but he graduated with his classmates AND was nominated for the best and brightest technology student from Rickards (and this ceremony happened AFTER he was arrested). How can she not have any of the blame? If any of this happened with a student who was not the principal's son, he'd have been expelled.
  • by TallyTrashTalks2 Location: Tallahassee on Oct 24, 2011 at 06:34 PM
    Let this kid pay the price for his bad behavior, learn his lesson and stop blaming his mother. Good Lord people... have you never lived long enough to see bad kids raised by good parents and bad parents raise model citizens?! Well, I have and it comes down to the indivdual! Get over it and let justice be served.
  • by anonymous on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:16 PM
    I was a student at Griffin Middle School when Dr. Gayle was principle and I was also a friend and classmate of Manny Gayle. Dr. Gayle was a awesome principle and did everything she could to encourage the students under her. What her son did has nothing to do with her upbringing and parenting, you can only raise your child to do the right thing but once they're of age to make their own decisions there's not much she can do at that point. I would have never expected Manny to do something like this but he is old enough to know right from wrong and he should definately be held responsible for his actions. You people need to stop with this whole "race thing" because the boy stole thousands of dollars from people, think about the position that put people in and whether you're black or white if it was your money you would want to see him behind bars too. My prayers go out to the Gayle Family and I hope Manny has learned his lesson from this and I pray he gets on the right track after all of this is over.
  • by Oh My Location: Rickards on Oct 24, 2011 at 04:17 PM
    Way to go. Our hero.
  • by Honeysuckle on Oct 24, 2011 at 01:37 PM
    If he were the son of a White Principal, this would not be an issue, as he would have gotten probation or nothing at all - just like the drunk white women who didn't do a day in jail for 2 DUIs. She could have easily killed somebody. Tally is just full of racist rednecks.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 24, 2011 at 04:59 PM in reply to Honeysuckle
      she was arrested for 1 DUI. TPD didnt charge her and allowed her finacee(assistant prosecutor) to pick her up. Did you see the TPD patrol car dashcam? She is clearly above .08 and they let her go. LCSO arrested her and charged her with DUI. I wish WCTV would do a story on this, I think they would do a better job the Tally Dem.
    • reply
      by anon on Oct 25, 2011 at 05:58 AM in reply to Honeysuckle
      there are other news sites in town that have done a story on this.
  • by Keiths Victim Location: Thomasville Ga on Oct 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM
    PErhaps this young man can be an example to those caught in the sex sting. HE can tell you what it is like being young and faced with sexual predators.
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