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Press Release

Defendants in ticket-switching scam sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Charles Blackman, a/k/a Ralph Jones, and Quinton Williams were sentenced to federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg for altering the prices of merchandise, through an elaborate “ticket-switching scheme” at The Home Depot and Lowe’s on August 27, 2018.

“These defendants defrauded Home Depot and Lowe’s of merchandise valued in excess of $300,000 and $1 million, respectively,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Security measures at The Home Depot helped uncover and stop this scheme before they could steal more.  It is unfortunate that the consumer pays the cost of these elaborate schemes in a higher cost of goods.”

“The U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement partners work tirelessly to protect our nation’s electronic financial payment systems,” said Malcolm D. Wiley, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.  “Today’s sentences should serve as a reminder that criminals will not get away with using point of sale terminals to fund their criminal activities.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Blackman and his associates allegedly switched or altered the prices of merchandise by changing the Universal Product Code (UPC), so the items could be purchased at a lower price and then returned for the actual, higher retail price.  They used false information and fake identifications to further their fraud.  Their alleged scheme was to cheat The Home Depot and Lowe’s out of the hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made on the price difference after returning the merchandise.

Charles Blackman, a/k/a Ralph Jones, 58, of Atlanta, Georgia was sentenced to three years, one month in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,269,621.00 to The Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Quinton Williams, 52, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to time served in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $269,515.00 to The Home Depot.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. The Woodstock Police Department and Cherokee County District Attorney’s Offices contributed to this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassandra J. Schansman prosecuted the case.

For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated August 28, 2018

Financial Fraud