Two Macomb County men and an Oakland County man in Michigan are accused of participating in a theft ring that rang up millions of dollars in illicit credit-car charges at more than 75 Walmart stores nationwide, according to federal officials.
A criminal complaint against the “Free Band Gang” was unsealed recently in US District Court in Detroit, showing the members used “cloned” credit cards to purchase hundreds of gift cards they used at Walmart stores and purchased a variety items such as Apple iTune cards, men’s clothes, prepaid phones, movies and video games, and food.
The members traveled alone or in small groups from this area to stores in 11 states, committing the illegal acts for two years through Sept. 2017, according to the feds. A federal grand jury originally indicted the members last September on 23 counts on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. “This type of identity theft and credit card fraud is not a victimless crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Detroit office. “It has a negative impact not only on the corporations involved but on the individual whose identity is stolen.”
Eight defendants face a varying number of counts. They purchased $500 credit cards then purchased thousands of dollars in goods, sometimes more than $100,000 worth of items in a day, resulting in “millions in losses,” the feds say. [Source: Macomb Daily]