Two More Defendants Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft
Defendants Relied on Local Restaurant & Retail Establishment Employees
to Steal Credit Card Account Information from Unsuspecting Customers
ATLANTA – Two leading defendants in a large-scale credit card theft ring involving the use of “skimming” devices at restaurants and retail stores were sentenced to federal prison today by United States District Court Judge Richard W. Story. Norman Uriah Simmonds, 33, of Lilburn, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 8 years, 6 months, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $107,324. Steven Michael Jackson, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 5 years, 1 month, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $33,254.
“These two defendants were part of an organized scheme involving at least 11 people, some of whom worked at local restaurants and stores, who tried to make a living by selling and using stolen credit cards,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This case demonstrates that consumers need to be aware of the risks of using credit cards, and that they need to check their accounts regularly for unexplained purchases or activity.”
“This is a good example of solid investigative work and teamwork on everyone’s part. As Postal Inspectors, we are proud to have prevented so many people from becoming further victimized by these individuals, who could have caused considerable financial damage and personal inconvenience to consumers.” said Keith Morris, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division.
“These defendant’s criminal actions reflect how advancements in digital technology can also sometimes have a negative effect on our communities. The Secret Service, with its law enforcement partners, will continue to actively investigate those that commit cybercrimes to prey on unsuspecting victims,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately June 2009 to November 2010, the defendants obtained and possessed electronic devices referred to as “skimmers,” which are capable of copying and storing debit and credit card account information. The defendants, some of whom were employed by restaurant and retail establishments, used the skimmers to copy and store debit and credit card account numbers from unsuspecting customers. The restaurants and retail establishments included Shogun Japanese Steakhouse in Columbus, Georgia; a Krystal Restaurant in Columbus, Georgia; a McDonald’s Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia; and Polished Nail Salon in Lawrenceville, Georgia. All of the impacted restaurants and retail establishments cooperated in the investigation.
After retrieving the debit and credit card account numbers from the skimmers and processing the data, the defendants transferred the stolen account numbers to the magnetic stripes of blank white plastic cards or gift cards using device-making equipment referred to as “encoders,” which altered the cards’ magnetic stripes to include the stolen debit and credit card account numbers. The defendants subsequently used the altered cards to purchase things of value, including United States postal stamps from Automated Postal Centers throughout Georgia.
In addition to defendants Simmonds and Jackson, the indictment also charged nine other individuals, all of whom have pled guilty:
- Sean Carlos Deloatch, 27, of Columbus, Georgia;
- Bryan Charles Jones, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Vanessa Echeverry, 20, of Lawrenceville, Georgia;
- Antonio Escobal, 35, of Columbus, Georgia;
- Lakeysha Renee Hill, 27, of Columbus, Georgia;
- Jerome Christopher Ledgister, 27, of Stockbridge, Georgia;
- Dwayne Matthew Neely, 29, of Columbus, Georgia;
- Tamicka Lashaun Trice, 28, of Atanta, Georgia; and
- Carmen Marie Walker, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia.
Defendants Deloatch, Echeverry and Trice are scheduled to be sentenced before United States District Court Judge Richard W. Story on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at 2 p.m. The remaining defendants have previously been sentenced.
This case was investigated by Postal Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service and Special Agents of the United States Secret Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Grimberg is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.