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.

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[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.

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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."

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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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