Five men from the Dayton-area will face federal charges in an identity theft conspiracy that allowed them to steal gasoline from 50 area gas stations over a two year period, according to the United States Department of Justice.
A federal grand jury indicted Kevin Earl Alexander Jr., 33, Demetrius Hicks, 28, Darrell Toshe White, 27, Tyson Kenneth Thomas, 24, and Isaiah Cooper, 20, on several charges including ten counts of aggravated identity theft, illegally possessing unauthorized access devices and one count each of device making equipment conspiracy to engage in access device fraud, the US DOJ said in a media release Tuesday.
Court records allege the five men participated in a scheme where they acquired from the Dark Web bulk amounts of stolen, personal credit card account numbers, names, addresses, and other personal information.
Prosecutors claim the men used the information to re-encode hundreds of blank and reused gift cards and credit cards. They would then used the cards to stealing large quantities of gas from at least 50 Dayton-area gas stations and convenience stores over a period of 30 months, officials said.
Court documents also allege the men used social media, like Facebook, and sent blast, mass text messages that set a date, time, and location for people to meet for “illicit fill-ups.”
Prosecutors allege the goal of the conspiracy, was to “hi-jack the operation of retail store gas pumps using counterfeit credit cards.” Those wanting to fill up their tanks would pay the conspirators $20-$30 and the gas would be paid by the counterfeit cards.
“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,” a US DOJ spokesperson said.
Hicks, Thomas, White, and Cooper were all arrested over the last two days, officials said. Alexander was already in state custody for a prior conviction.
Mugshots for all five of the accused men were not immediately available.
All five are set to be arraigned on the charges at a later date.
Additional details were not released.