Updated May 27th, 2019
Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, announced that a 40-year-old Lewisville man was, on April 16, sentenced to 58 months in prison for conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
The announcement disclosed that Odis Edwards and his accomplices acquired stolen credit card credentials from the darknet and used them to pay for hotel rooms in Dallas. They then would sublet the rooms to interested parties for half the price.
The police began investigations against Edwards in late August 2018 after hotel personnel from a hotel in Colleyville lodged a complaint against Edwards with the Colleyville Police Department. Edwards reportedly booked a room in the hotel on the evening of August 22. Throughout the entire evening, people occupying the room made multiple food purchases in Edwards’ name. When confronted by one of the hotel’s personnel, the occupants of the room hurriedly left the hotel premises and left some of their belongings in the hotel room. Secret Service agents involved in the investigations searched the room and found an undisclosed number of credit cards and a notebook with a large number of credit card numbers written on it. The agents also found a journal containing URLs of credit card generator sites.
On August 30, Edwards booked two rooms at a hotel in Trophy Club before booking two more at a hotel in Fort Worth on August 31. Investigators who had been monitoring Edwards activities executed a search warrant and raided one of the hotel rooms that Edwards occupied. The investigators found and seized records of credit card numbers, a forged driver’s license and a tablet logged into a forum used for the sale and purchase of credit cards. Edwards was arrested and placed under police custody after the search.
Edwards was later released on bail, after which he continued with his fraudulent activities. On October 11, he contacted a Secret Service agent to enquire about his seized vehicle. The investigators tracked Edwards’ phone to an inn in Carrolton. The investigators went to the inn and found Edwards in one of its rooms. In the room, the agents found and seized more than 70 credit card numbers. Edwards then gave the agents five altered credit cards and over 400 credit card numbers written in a notebook he had hidden under a desk in the room. The investigators arrested Edwards and placed him in custody for questioning.
An agent who testified during the sentencing hearing told the court that when questioned, Edwards told the questioning agents that he began using the stolen credit cards to pay for hotel rooms in March 2018. Edwards admitted to the court that with the help of his accomplices he had acquired more than 1200 credit card details from darknet marketplaces and forums. Edwards and his partners used the credit cards to book rooms and make purchases worth a total of more than $250,000.
After announcing Edwards’ sentence, U.S. Attorney Cox said that in response to the rise in the use of the darknet by criminals, law enforcement agencies have prioritized the fight against illicit activities on the darknet. Cox then applauded the Secret Service agents and the police officers involved in the investigations. He also thanked the hotel personnel who alerted LE.
Speaking during the announcement, Special Agent William Noonan in charge of the Secret Service’s Dallas Office said the investigations that led to Edwards’ conviction showed that the Secret Service is always ready to work together with other LE bodies. He also said the Secret Service is dedicated to the fight against financial crimes