[UPDATE] -- Valdosta, Ga. -- April 4, 2012 --
28-year-old Fredrick Bernard Williams has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. He was the leader of a credit card fraud ring that stole more than $1.7 million dollars.
The operation stretched from Eastern Europe to Georgia, Florida and Ohio. Williams bought the stolen credit card information online from someone believed to be in Romania.
The operation would use that information to buy gift cards at places like McDonalds and Chick-fil-A. They would then sell the gift cards online and keep the profits.
The victims in this case have not been identified, but Derwood Hickey can sympathize. Someone stole his identity 3 years ago.
He said "some heads ought to roll. Really. I mean you know he's affected many, many lives that he'll never know about. And like I said earlier, some of these people will never know it until two or three years down the road."
A Tallahassee police officer broke the case when he saw Williams and his partners buying gift cards at a Chick-fil-A. He was arrested in January of 2011.
Over 6,000 gift cards were recovered during the investigation. They were valued at more than $300-thousand dollars.
4 other people were also sentenced to time in prison for their involvement in the scam.
Tallahassee, FL -- Fredrick Bernard Williams, 28, of Valdosta, Georgia, was sentenced Thursday, March 29, 2012, to 259 months in federal prison for committing credit card fraud, possession of counterfeit credit cards, possession of device making equipment, and aggravated identity theft.
Williams led an extensive online counterfeit credit card fraud operation stretching from Eastern Europe to Georgia, Florida, and Ohio that charged more than $1,700,000.00 on stolen account
Also sentenced were four members of the operation. Mack Cecil Dancer, 27, of Live Oak, Florida, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Lomax Lamar Jenkins, 33, of Valdosta was sentenced to 37
months in prison. Deondre Ware, 33, of Valdosta and Tiffany Shena Jones, 25, of Quinton, Alabama were both sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Between May 2010 and May 2011, Williams purchased stolen credit card account information through the internet from an individual believed to be in Romania. He then placed that information onto the
conspirators’ own debit and credit cards to make fraudulent purchases. The group primarily purchased gift cards from retailers and restaurants such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. Williams then
sold the gift cards for less than face value to online gift card vendors Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Rescue.com. Williams became a high volume seller with both companies and made over one million
dollars in less than twelve months.
Williams’ organization operated throughout the southeast and was also involved with individuals committing credit card fraud in Ohio. The case was broken when Williams and two of his co-defendants were arrested in Tallahassee in January 2011, after a Tallahassee police officer on lunch break noticed Ware purchasing two $100.00 gift cards at a Chick-fil-A. Officers followed Ware, Williams, and another co-defendant as they purchased numerous gift cards from Tallahassee restaurants using cards encoded with stolen credit card account numbers. The three were stopped and found in possession of a laptop computer, an encoding device, counterfeit cards, and over 90 gift cards. The laptop computer contained over 4,300 stolen credit card account numbers.
Williams used the proceeds from the fraud to purchase commercial property and open several businesses in Valdosta, Georgia. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized for forfeiture several flat screen televisions, laptop computers, furniture, over $16,000 worth of restaurant equipment, a BMW 760 Li, a Mercedes Benz SLK, a Hummer H3, a Nissan Xterra, and Williams’
house in Valdosta.
Williams possessed information from over 5,000 stolen credit card accounts and had equipment to put that information onto cards. During the course of the investigation, over 6,000 gift cards were
recovered that had a total stored value of over $300,000.00.
The defendants were also ordered to pay over $450,000 in restitution.
Three more defendants, including Williams’ cousin, Teresa Albritton, are scheduled to be sentenced in May.
United States Attorney Pamela Marsh praised the work of the United States Secret Service, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in Valdosta, Georgia, whose
joint investigation led to the convictions in this case. “Thanks to the keen observation of a Tallahassee Police officer on his lunch break, this case was initiated and thoroughly investigated by Secret Service and other strong law enforcement partners,” noted Marsh. She added, “Greed is clearly the motivating force behind these criminal acts. Our agents and prosecutors work tirelessly to investigate these crimes that erode our economies and communities, and subject victims to frustrating credit difficulties and personal losses.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey J. Smith.