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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fourth Chicago woman pleads guilty to credit card fraud

Investigation implicated four Chicago women in credit card scheme

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A fourth Chicago woman pleaded guilty today to credit card fraud, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Crystal Merritt, 29, entered her guilty plea to possession of 15 or more counterfeit access devices. A counterfeit access device is a credit card that has been altered so that it contains stolen information that has been re-encoded on the magnetic strip on the back of the card. 

Merritt admitted that she, along with three other codefendants, Wynesha Wilson-Robinson, Christine Johnson, and Stephanie Stevenson, possessed over 100 counterfeit access devices. The four defendants drove from Chicago to West Virginia in an attempt to use these counterfeit credit cards. On June 5, 2015, the women were observed at the South Charleston Target and Walmart attempting to use the counterfeit cards, and store employees alerted law enforcement to the suspicious behavior.

Merritt face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on October 19, 2016.

The South Charleston Police Department and the United States Secret Service conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

The three other Chicago codefendants previously pleaded guilty to credit card fraud. Wilson-Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced on August 11, 2016. Johnson and Stevenson are scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2016.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Updated August 4, 2016