Two Atlanta Women Indicted in Counterfeit Credit Card Scheme
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury today indicted two Atlanta women on federal charges related to an interstate counterfeit credit card scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams.
A five-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges NENITA CHIFFON BARNES, 40, and ALICIA SHANTE STEWART, 34, with conspiracy to defraud Regions Bank by using stolen credit card numbers to create counterfeit credit cards that they used for purchases and cash advances between October 2015 and April 13, 2016, in north Alabama.
Along with the conspiracy, the indictment charges both women with one count of bank fraud and one count of possessing more than 15 counterfeit credit cards in Calhoun County on April 13. The indictment charges Barnes and Stewart separately with one count each of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, Barnes and Stewart traveled to multiple locations, including the federal Northern District of Alabama, to use the counterfeit cards to make purchases and cash advances. The indictment charges that the women worked together at multiple Regions Bank branches within north Alabama to withdraw or to attempt to withdraw cash using the counterfeit cards.
Barnes is charged with aggravated identity theft for using, without lawful authority, the names and debit or credit card numbers of four specific individuals to commit fraud on April 13 in Calhoun County, and Stewart faces the same charge for unlawfully using the names and card numbers of three other individuals.
The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The charge of possessing more than 15 counterfeit credit or debit cards carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years, which must be served after completion of any other sentence imposed for an associated crime, and a maximum $250,000 fine.
The U.S. Secret Service and the Jacksonville Police Department investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.