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Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third Chicago woman sentenced for credit card fraud

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Chicago woman was sentenced today to five years of probation, with the first eight months to be served on home confinement, for credit card fraud, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Crystal Merritt, 29, previously 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 codefendants, Wynesha Wilson-Robinson, Christine Johnson, and Stephanie Stevenson, possessed over 100 counterfeit access devices. Merritt, along with the other codefendants, drove from Chicago to attempt to use these credit cards. On June 5, 2015, they were observed at the South Charleston Target and Walmart attempting to use the counterfeit cards. The four were arrested by law enforcement after store employees became suspicious of the multiple attempts to use credit cards to complete a purchase.  

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. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentence.

One remaining codefendant is awaiting sentencing. Stephanie Stevenson is scheduled to be sentenced on November 3, 2016. Wilson-Robsinson was sentenced in August 2016 to five months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of probation. Wilson-Robinson was further ordered to serve the first five months of her probation on home confinement. Johnson was sentenced on October 3, 2016, to six months of home confinement, to be followed by three years of probation.

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Updated October 19, 2016