Southern Oregon Woman Sentenced for Using Deceased Husband's Identity to Obtain Federal Student Aid Funds
PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Beaverton, Oregon man has been charged with bank fraud in a scheme involving the impersonation of credit union employees in order to obtain members’ personal financial information.
Winston E. Gray, 30, has been charged by criminal complaint with bank fraud.
According to court documents, on March 30, 2020, a fraud investigator for Rivermark Credit Union in Portland contacted the Portland Police Bureau to report that numerous credit union members had received fraudulent text messages asking them to confirm or deny a recent transaction. When a victim member denied the transaction, they received a phone call from someone purporting to be a credit union employee asking for their debit card number and PIN in order to disable their card.
The personal financial information obtained was used to clone victims’ debit cards and make numerous purchases and ATM withdrawals throughout the Portland metro area. Using a list of fraudulent transactions provided by Rivermark, detectives from Portland Police Bureau and the Beaverton Police Department, with assistance from investigators with OnPoint Credit Union, Bank of America, Unitus Credit Union, and Fred Meyer, obtained video surveillance and photos of the unauthorized transactions from various ATMs and retail establishments.
Surveillance images of the suspect, later alleged to be Gray, were obtained from a Bank of America ATM on NW Cornell Road in Portland. On March 29, 2020, after making a balance inquiry on a victim member’s account, Gray made three consecutive withdrawals of $203 each from the ATM. Gray was later linked to a second fraudulent ATM withdrawal and two fraudulent money order purchases the same day.
As the investigation continued, detectives linked Gray to additional fraudulent transactions between March 30 and April 8, 2020 at locations throughout the Portland area. After reviewing body-worn camera footage from a previous traffic stop, detectives were able to positively identify Gray as the suspect responsible for the fraudulent bank transactions and obtain his home address.
On April 15, 2020, detectives obtained and served state search warrants on Gray’s Beaverton residence, person, and vehicle.
Detectives seized a Bluetooth card writer used to re-encode magnetic strips on credit cards; blank cards with magnetic strips; handwritten instructions on creating stolen identities and committing credit card fraud; multiple stolen credit cards, debit cards, and driver’s licenses; clothing matching those seen in the surveillance footage; more than $10,000 in cash; a 380 caliber handgun; a box of 380 caliber ammunition; and 26 grams of cocaine from Gray’s residence. Other related items were seized from his person and vehicle.
After conducting the searches, Gray was arrested without incident. Gray made his first appearance in federal court today and was ordered detained.
If convicted, Gray faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, 5 years’ supervised release, and a $1 million fine.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, Beaverton Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by Quinn P. Harrington, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.