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Four Ghanaians in alleged US credit card fraud

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Four Ghanaians have been indicted in the US by a federal court on a fraud-conspiracy charge alleging that account numbers were stolen from credit and debit cards used at a McDonald’s outlet in Tulsa.

The four are Daniel Yaw Jefferson, 21; Godlive Johnathan Tetty-Mensah, 19; Stanjulfran Geovester Mensah, 21; and Bismark Baah, 20. They were accused of taking part in a plot that lasted from August 2011 until October 16, when the four were arrested in Ponca City.

The charge was one of several indictments released as a result of the April meeting of the Tulsa federal grand jury, the Tulsa World news outlet reported April 4, 2012.

The grand jury alleges that Jefferson and Tetty-Mensah gave a credit card reader – known as a “skimmer” – to an unindicted co-conspirator who worked at the McDonald’s near 71st Street and Yale Avenue so that the person could “steal names and account numbers from the credit and debit cards of unsuspecting customers.”

That person would then meet with Jefferson – and sometimes with Tetty-Mensah – and then Jefferson would use a computer to download the stolen account information, which was used to manufacture counterfeit cards, the charge alleges.

According to the Tulsa World citing a US Secret Service affidavit, an unnamed former McDonald’s employee, was the only person working at the drive-through during the dates and times of the transactions. He skimmed numbers for three weeks and received $600, two laptop computers and a video game system for his efforts, court documents said.

An assistant US Attorney, Ryan Souders, the publication said did not comment about why the former employee was not charged for now as investigation is still continuing.

Prosecutors are therefore seeking a $51,988.15 money judgment against the four defendants.

The affidavit indicates that about 282 credit or debit card numbers were found in a search of a laptop computer that was seized when the four were arrested in Ponca City in October for allegedly trying to buy merchandise with counterfeit cards. A majority of the debit card accounts had been used at the Tulsa McDonald’s, the document says.

Besides conspiracy, the four defendants are charged with other crimes, including aggravated identity theft.

Baah and Tetty-Mensah were in the Tulsa Jail, while Jefferson and Mensah were in the Kay County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon, the report said.

By Ekow Quandzie

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