Two Charged with Stealing Identities, Cash from Credit Union Customers
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia
NEW MARTINSVILLE, WEST VIRGINIA – Two men have been indicted for stealing the identities of West Virginians and withdrawing cash from their credit union accounts.
Benjamin Britford, 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Brandon Watkins, 29, of Douglasville, Georgia have been charged with making unauthorized transactions from accounts at Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union in New Martinsville. In July and August of 2023, Britford and Watkins obtained the personal identifying information and account numbers for numerous credit union customers and then withdrew cash from those accounts. The defendants withdrew more than $10,000 in cash from accounts in West Virginia and withdrew additional funds from accounts of Bayer customers in South Carolina during the same time period.
Britford and Watkins are each charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and bank larceny. Watkins faces an additional charge of aggravated identity theft.
United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer T. Conklin is prosecuting the case.
The FBI investigated.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Updated January 4, 2024