FDLE: Florida Crime Ring Nets Over $500k In Gift Cards
ORLANDO, Florida -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Orlando Regional Operations Center charged seventeen individuals linked to a two-year-long investigation of statewide organized fraud. The case is being prosecuted in partnership with the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
The investigation began in late 2010 in partnership with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, and involved an organized group of individuals who allegedly used counterfeit checks to purchase merchandise from large retail stores throughout Florida. Officials say the counterfeit checks used by the group typically displayed fraudulent information and/or stolen account numbers.
Agents allege that the defendants would use the counterfeit checks in conjunction with counterfeit driver’s licenses and identification cards to purchase store merchandise. Once the merchandise was purchased, it would be kept for a short period of time, only to be returned later for cash or gift cards.
In some incidents, members of the group would allegedly use the counterfeit checks to directly purchase store gift cards which would then be used to purchase Visa or American Express gift cards at a sister store. Once the Visa or American Express cards were purchased, they could be used almost anywhere.
FDLE says that the group is believed to have profited in excess of $500,000.00 over a three year period.
The following individuals have been charged with organized scheme to defraud, conspiracy to commit organized scheme to defraud, criminal use of personal identification information, conspiracy to commit criminal use of personal identification information, and criminal use of fictitious or personal identification information:
D’Angelo Keith Jones, 28, of Orlando
James Edward Cook Jr., 33, of Orlando
Timothy Duval, 23, of Orlando
Christopher Michael Jones, 34, of Orlando
Claudine Antoinette Smith-Jones, 33, of Orlando
Brandon Sanchez Brinson, 24, of Pompano Beach
Roger Sermon Jr., 31, of Altamonte Springs
Gregory Wayne Lowe Jr., 26, of Sanford
Henry Evett Allen, 37, of Orlando
Courtney Boston Scott, 23, of Orlando
Ralph Williams III, 34, of Bradenton
Annette Luvern Siplin, 50, of Sanford
Paul Boyd Jr., 50, of Altamonte Springs
Montrez D. Maye, 33, of Orlando
Edger M. Jenning-Boswell, 30, Ocala
Cenenia Bryant, 30, of Orlando
Chelsy L. Beals, 22, of Edmond Oklahoma
Each defendant is to be held under a $45,000.00 total bond.