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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Grand Rapids Man Pleads Guilty To Credit Card Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced that Kahwahnas Nucumbhi Potts, age 38, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pled guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids today. Potts remains in federal custody.

          According to the plea agreement, in December 2015, Potts stole a credit card after breaking into the home of a couple on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. Potts used the social security account number and date of birth of the homeowner when calling the credit card company to activate the card. Defendant used that credit card without authorization to withdraw over $16,000.00 at automated teller machines in December 2015 and January 2016. Defendant disguised himself with a mask, a stolen license plate on his vehicle, and gloves, when making the ATM withdrawals.

          Potts stole mail from the mailboxes of West Michigan residents between March 2015 and April 2016. He used the names, dates of birth and social security account numbers of these victims when completing credit card applications over the internet. In an effort to avoid detection, he accessed the wireless internet service of an area business to apply for the credit cards using his cellular phone and directed the credit card companies to mail the credit cards to a fictitious address.

         "Identity theft crime often causes serious and permanent damage to the credit history and financial lives of its victims," said U.S. Attorney Birge. "My office will continue to vigorously prosecute and convict those who commit identity theft, especially those who violate the privacy and integrity of the United States mail in order to carry out their identity theft schemes."

          The sentencing hearing for Potts will occur in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at a date to be set by the court approximately 3 to 4 months from now. At that time, Potts will face a maximum penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for his credit card fraud and a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence that the court may impose, for each of his aggravated identity theft convictions. Potts will also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims.

          The Grand Rapids Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Police Department Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Team, is handling the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald M. Stella is prosecuting the case.

END

Updated February 28, 2018