News and Press Releases

Shamel Hugee of Brooklyn, New York Sentenced to 25 Months in Jail for Debit Card Fraud

October 10, 2012

Burlington, VT – Tristram J. Coffin, United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, stated that Shamel Hugee, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced on October 9, 2012, by U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha, to 25 months in prison for defrauding at least 8 retail businesses located on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. Additionally, Hugee was sentenced to three years of supervised release after the completion of his prison term and ordered to pay restitution to his Vermont victims.

According to Court records, during December of 2010 Shamel Hugee presented a Futura prepaid debit card to a number of Church Street, Burlington, Vermont merchants for clothing and other items. Unknown to the merchants, the debit card had no positive balance. When the card was rejected, Hugee explained that his card had a "safety feature" which required permission for sales above a certain amount. Then, he pretended to call his bank. While on the phone, Hugee gave the sales clerk directions and a code to "override" the rejection and to "force" the authorization. Hugee then walked away with the merchandise. When the credit card company refused to honor the charges (for lack of proper authorization), the merchants became the victims of this fraudulent scheme. Hugee committed this same scheme in other states including New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.

Hugee was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 29, 2011 for eight counts of wire fraud. Hugee was arrested by the United States Secret Service on or about December 17, 2011 and pled guilty to Count I of the Indictment on June 18, 2011.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. The United States Attorney, Tristram J. Coffin, commends this agency for its work. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney, Nancy J. Creswell. Tucker was represented by Steven Barth of the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

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