COLUMBIA, SC — Nine members of a credit card fraud ring that operated in South Carolina were sentenced in Columbia Tuesday to federal prison terms ranging from 2 to 5 years, US Attorney Bill Nettles said.
Members of the gang used hand-held credit card reading devices - called skimmers - to capture legitimate credit card information which was then used to create bogus credit cards from credit card blanks. State, federal and law enforcement agencies in Lexington, Richland and Greenville counties investigated about $361K in fraudulent charges that were made to buy goods and services including retail gift cards. An estimated 1,800 credit cards were compromised by the ring, Nettles said.
Because the actual credit card is not stolen in a skimming scheme, the victims of credit card number skimming may not know that their credit information has been compromised until unknown charges start showing up on their credit card bills.
The nine - Shamal Thompson; Tymaree Conyers; Shykim Williams; Adriana Barnwell; Amena Chinn; Markall Johnson; Pattamas Jones; Chezarie Kelly; and Akila Brunson - pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. A 10th person, Alfred Barksdale, pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced, Nettles said.