Officials: Five S.C. men targeted Va. Walmart stores to commit credit card fraud
ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) -- Five men, who officials said targeted rural communities in the southeast to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity fraud, pled guilty during a series of hearings this week in Roanoke.
Keyshawn Berchel Hunter, 27, of Florence, S.C., Daquan Damese James, 24, of Darlington, S.C., Roland Marcell Bruce, 23, of Darlington, S.C. and Markese Davon Robinson, 21, of Darlington, S.C., each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
A fifth man, Marquise Tyshawn James, 22, of Darlington, S.C, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said more people may be charged.
According to evidence presented during the hearings this week, authorities in Pearisburg responded to Walmart for a report of several men attempting to use multiple debit cards to make purchases that were declined.
A loss prevention employee noted that he observed the same men in the store a week earlier, attempting the same scheme and gave authorities a description of the their vehicle.
Authorities located a vehicle matching the description and approached it, noticing the strong smell of marijuana, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Based on the smell of marijuana, police searched the vehicle and found a bag of green, leafy material near the driver's seat and 16 Visa debit cards.
After an additional search, police found 40 Visa debit cards in the can's center console, 52 Visa gift cards, one credit card skimmer, and one laptop.
Forensic examination by the U.S. Secret Service revealed that 89 of those cards were re-encoded with stolen credit card numbers.
Additionally, one of the conspirators admitted the group targeted Walmart stores in the southeast because the store wanted to keep the lines moving, which worked to their advantage, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service, the Pearisburg Police Department, and the Giles County Sheriff’s Office.
The Office of the Commonwealth Attorney for Giles County also assisted with the overall prosecution.
Assistant United States Attorney Ashley B. Neese prosecuted the case for the United States.