Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently announced the arrests of 7 people connected to a statewide racketeering and identity theft ring.
The 7 arrested used stolen IDs, a Capital One credit card, and a Visa gift card to get money orders. In total, between two groups, more than $115,000 was stolen.
Shapiro says these alleged thieves conducted some of their crooked business in Schuylkill County. We’re one of 22 counties where they carried out the scheme.
“The Office of Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecutions Section has successfully shut down a corrupt organization that was stealing the identities of individuals across the country and defrauding victims, including many seniors,” he says. “I’m grateful for the hard work of the Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Office of Attorney General agents to hold these scammers accountable and achieve justice for their victims.”
Pennsylvania Credit Card Fraud Swipers Scheme
Here’s how it worked (until it didn’t) …
- The 7 people arrested each had a Capital One credit card in their name. However, the cards were linked to Capital One customers who had their identity stolen in the past.
- The cards had the thieves’ names on them but the magnetic strip contained info about the people whose identity had been stolen. To pay for the gift cards, the suspected thieves swiped the cards instead of using the EMV chip.
- The suspected thieves used the Capital One cards to pay for Visa branded gift cards at supermarkets across Pennsylvania. They focused solely on Weis Markets stores and Giant food stores.
- After they got the Visa gift cards, they were often transferred for money orders, according to Shapiro’s statement Monday.
Some of the transactions happened at stores in Schuylkill County. Shapiro identified 21 other Pennsylvania counties where these fraudulent transactions happened: Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Centre, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Mifflin, Northampton, Northumberland, Snyder, Union, and York.
7 Arrested on Fraud Charges
Those arrested in the case were part of two separate groups, Shapiro says. They’re from Pennsylvania and New York.
In one group, called the Jackson Group, three people were involved. They’re led by Rashean Jackson, 41, of Bronx, NY. It also includes Jessica Walter, 36, of Berwick, and Sabrina Jackson-Creel, of Reading.
The other group was led by Jaleel Geddes-Kelly, 40, of Cambria Heights, NY. It also includes Joselito Joseph, 40, of Valley Stream, NY. There are two Pennsylvania residents in the group, too: Tammy Gibson, 42, of Wilkes-Barre, and Houdini Saunders, of Nanticoke.
The Jackson group is alleged to have stolen $61,694 by conducting their shady business at Weis and Giant stores. They stole identities from people in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Kansas, Washington DC, Texas, Iowa, Massachusetts, and California.
The Geddes-Kelly group carried out their business at Giant stores exclusively. The stolen Capital One IDs in this group also included some Pennsylvania victims along with people in Arizona, Maine, Idaho, New York, Ohio, Delaware, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Colorado.
Together, they all face corrupt organization charges, as well as identity theft and more.
Read the full Grand Jury Presentment to learn how some of these bad actors were working together but in separate groups. They committed fraud at the same store in one case but didn’t know each other: GRAND JURY PRESENTMENT