Central Ohio Trio Charged With Crimes Arising Out Of Credit Card Fraud
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Francois G. Toure, 25, of Reynoldsburg, Robert A. Kamara, 26, of Canal Winchester, and Enouch J. Kermue, 26, of Columbus, in a wire fraud conspiracy in an indictment returned in Columbus. Toure is also charged in a second wire fraud conspiracy, as well as a money laundering conspiracy. Additionally, Toure and Kamara are charged with aggravated identity theft.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Mark Porter, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), announced the indictment returned yesterday.
The indictment alleges that from April 2012 through March 2015, the defendants knowingly conspired to commit wire fraud to defraud financial institutions and their customers. The three did so by producing, using, trafficking in and possessing stolen credit card numbers, knowing the credit card information was stolen from other individuals.
Toure, Kamara and Kermue allegedly obtained stolen credit card numbers over the Internet and used an encoding device to re-encode the magnetic strips of genuine prepaid/gift cards to reflect the stolen credit card numbers. It is alleged that they used the re-encoded cards to purchase merchandise. Banks suffered loss when they reimbursed their customers for unauthorized purchases.
The indictment alleges that the defendants used a convenience store’s merchant credit card processing accounts to redeem genuine prepaid/gift cards, knowing that the cards had been purchased with stolen credit card account information. It is alleged that the store did not provide any legitimate goods or services in exchange for the value of the prepaid/gift cards.
Toure also allegedly engaged in a conspiracy that used stolen personally identifiable information to file fraudulent United States Individual Income Tax Returns, in an effort to obtain fraudulent refunds. It is alleged that Toure used counterfeit identification documents to open bank accounts, and that fraudulently obtained refunds were deposited into these accounts.
The defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, a crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Toure was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Toure and Kamara are each also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to be served consecutive to any sentence for the other offenses.
“This investigation succeeded due to the cooperation of all the agencies in the Southern District of Ohio Task Force (SDOHTF), which was created in 2012 to prevent, detect and investigate various forms of electronic crimes,” U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Mark Porter said. “The SDOHTF is an electronic/financial crimes task force made up of 65 federal, state, and local agencies in the Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati area. Furthermore, our partnership with the IRS’ Criminal Investigative Division in Ohio continues to produce arrests in high impact economic crimes across the state.”
“Stealing identities and filing false tax returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Today’s indictment, in cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, should serve as a strong warning to those who are considering similar conduct. Law enforcement is serious about investigating these crimes and holding those accountable who would defraud the government.”
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the Secret Service and IRS, and David J. Bosley and Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.