Eleven people have been charged this week for their alleged roles in a credit card fraud ring based in south Queens that prosecutors say is connected to a violent street gang, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the suspects took stolen credit card information and embedded it onto phony Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards that were then used to purchase expensive, high-tech items and high-end cosmetics from stores across the tri-state area and the Eastern Seaboard.
Through a lengthy investigation, police identified Ramsey “Rambo” Sutton, 23, of Ronkonkoma, NY, as the ring leader; he was identified as a reputed member of the Mac Bellas, which Brown said is an off-shoot of the Bloods gang. In court-authorized wiretaps, Sutton was allegedly recorded informing his partners in the ring numerous times about the credit cards’ production.
The forged cards were then provided to male and female shoppers associated with the theft ring, who then went out and purchased electronics including Apple iPads. Between October 2016 and February of this year, Brown said, the shoppers obtained more than $50,000 in cosmetics, gift cards and other items in visits to Sephora stores across New York, Connecticut, Virginia and Maryland.
Law enforcement sources said the ring participants also used the fake cards to purchase more than $200,000 in merchandise from various Target and Best Buy stories in Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island and West Nyack, NY.
Prosecutors said the forged cards were produced out of the Rosedale home of Jordan Clarke, 26, which also served as a warehouse where the ring’s shoppers dropped off their stolen loot, which was then distributed among the defendants.
“The defendants’ alleged crimes not only victimized department stores … but also the consumers whose personal information were stolen and used to carry out the alleged scheme,” Brown said in a statement on June 2. “Even after the alleged culprits are prosecuted, the individual victims will still face difficulty in repairing their credit ratings and credit scores. The financial repercussions from being a victim of identity theft can last for years.”
As part of the indictment, police raided this week three locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Ronkonkoma connected to the ring, seizing in total four firearms, ammunition, 81 counterfeit credit cards, 43 oxycodone pills, 25 morphine sulfate pills, credit card faces, a bulletproof vest, an expandable baton, a flash drive containing instructions on how create phony credit cards, 150 templates for credit cards, three card readers, a credit card embossing machine and a manual credit card imprinter.
Sutton, Clarke and the following six individuals were arraigned on June 1 on a 139-count indictment charging them variously with criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument, conspiracy, petit larceny and falsifying business records:
- Alijah (aka A.J.) Moore, 24, of Laurelton;
- Asha Patterson, 22, of Queens Village;
- Cheyenne Tucker, 22, of Cambria Heights;
- Clarence Baugh, 23, of Cambria Heights;
- Dnaya Neblett, 24, of Springfield Gardens;
- Dominique Payne, 23, of Queens Village.
Two other suspects named in the indictment remain at large: Cori Parham, 30, of Jamaica, and Chelsea Taitt, 19, of South Ozone Park. One other individual, Jelani (aka Bucks) Bailey, 26, of Cambria Heights is currently incarcerated outside of New York state on an unrelated matter.
Three other individuals were arrested this week as police executed search warrants at locations connected to the credit card fraud ring: Andre Pilgrim, 43, of Brooklyn; Jillian Obasa, 22, of Rosedale; and Jodiann Oyeshola, 24, of Stafford, TX. They were each charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal possession of forgery devices.
If convicted, all of the suspects face up to 7 to 15 years behind bars if convicted.