Eight Members of Organized Fraud Ring in Detroit Indicted
Members Targeted Walmart Stores Across the Country, Linked to Millions in Fraud
A federal grand jury charged eight members of an organized fraud ring based in Detroit with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aggravated identity theft in a twenty-three count indictment, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced today.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Detroit Field Office, Patricia Armstrong, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Detroit Division, Reginald DeMatteis, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, and Michael Patton, Chief of Police, West Bloomfield Police Department.
Toriano Adams, 32, of Eastpointe
Anthony Adans, 32, of Troy
Devin Simmons, 32, of Sterling Heights
Aatif Brown, 25, of Detroit
OD Williams, 27, of Detroit
Denico Adams. 26, of Detroit
Rodney Gist, 27, of Detroit
Tayan Jackson, 32, of Brooklyn, New York
According to the indictment, the defendants are members and/or associates of an organized fraud ring known as the “Free Band Gang.” Members of the fraud ring obtained stolen credit card accounts in bulk through various sources, including “dump” sites on the internet. The stolen accounts were then pressed on the front of counterfeit cards to create cloned credit cards. Free Band Gang members traveled to Walmart stores throughout the United States where they purchased $500 gift cards using the cloned credit cards without the authorization — or knowledge — of the true accountholder. Free Band Gang members often purchased a hundred thousand dollars or more in gift cards in a single day using the cloned credit cards and returned to Michigan with the gift cards which they sold for cash to launder the proceeds. The scheme lasted for nearly three years and resulted in millions in losses.
“In the span of nine hours, two of these defendants allegedly traveled to ten Walmart stores in and around Bentonville, Arkansas, used three counterfeit credit cards, and made over $100,000.00 in fraudulent purchases,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “This was not uncommon for this group. Over three years, the defendants allegedly stole millions of dollars in an organized, calculated scheme. Because Michigan is a national leader in identity theft, we are literally working day and night to break up these fraud rings and put the perpetrators where they belong: in federal prison.”
“This type of identity theft and credit card fraud is not a victimless crime. It has a negative impact not only on the corporations involved but on the individual whose identity is stolen,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater, FBI Detroit. “The FBI will continue to work in close partnership with the members of the Detroit Metro Identity Theft Task Force to identify and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations engaged in these schemes which can result in the loss of millions of dollars a year.”
Schneider commended the substantial assistance of law enforcement agencies around the country as well as the tremendous work by Walmart’s Global Investigations Team, without it the full scope of the fraud would never have been uncovered. Organized fraud rings operate across multiple jurisdictions by design in an attempt to evade detection.
The case is being investigated by the Detroit Metro Identity Theft Task Force, which includes representatives of the FBI, Michigan State Police, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Auburn Hills Police Department, Birmingham Police Department, and Bloomfield Township Department along with assistance from the West Bloomfield Township Police Department and Ellisville, MO Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shane Cralle and James R. Drabick.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.