DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Five Dayton men are charged in an identity theft conspiracy that officials say involved re-encoding gift and credit cards in order to steal gasoline at roughly 50 Dayton-area gas stations and convenience stores.
The indictment alleges that co-conspirators executed a fraud scheme to acquire bulk quantities of stolen personal credit card account numbers, names, addresses, and other personal identifying information from the Dark Web. The stolen information was then allegedly re-encoded by the co-conspirators on hundreds of blank and reused gift cards and credit cards for later use in the theft of gasoline from dozens of gas stations and convenience stores over a two-and-a-half-year time period.
Officials say the conspirators would allegedly appear at designated locations for the purpose of hijacking the operation of retail store gas pumps using counterfeit credit cards accepting $20 – $30 payments from customers, and filling up their vehicles with stolen gas.
“It was reportedly not unusual to observe six to 10 vehicles lined up at designated gas pumps waiting to receive ‘fill-ups’ from members of the conspiracy,” officials said in a release.
Those charged include Kevin Earl Alexander, Jr., 33; Demetrius Hicks, 28; Tyson Kenneth Thomas, 24; Darrell Toshe White, 27; and Isaiah Cooper, 20. Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to engage in access device fraud, punishable by up to seven and one-half years in prison. Defendants are also charged in the 11-count indictment with aggravated identity theft, illegally possessing unauthorized access devices and device making equipment. Hicks is also charged with illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Four of the defendants were arrested over the past two days. Alexander was already in state custody for a prior state conviction.
All five will appear in federal court for arraignment.