U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Demeko Wells (22, Tampa) to four years and nine months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty on July 19, 2017.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from at least January 2015 through November 2016, Wells and others affiliated with the “Manche Boy Mafia” or “MBM” organization conspired to commit credit card fraud and identity theft in the Tampa Bay area. Investigators learned that these individuals had purchased stolen credit and debit card account numbers online from various websites, some of which used bitcoins as their currency. The conspirators purchased or stole reloadable gift cards and used a machine to emboss the stolen account numbers and their own names onto the front of these altered gift cards, thereby generating counterfeit credit cards. The conspirators then used these counterfeit cards at various retailers around the Tampa Bay area to purchase gift cards and electronics, which they either kept or sold for cash.
Investigators determined that these individuals had engaged in hundreds of successful transactions with counterfeit credit cards, and had possessed and used thousands of stolen account numbers from individuals across the United States. In total, Wells was held responsible for more than $350,000 in intended or attempted purchases with counterfeit credit cards and stolen account information.
Wells’s co-defendant, Maurice Lewis, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft and was sentenced on October 17, 2017, to 61 months in prison.
In a related case, fellow MBM members, Brandon Lewis and Terrance Cobb, were each sentenced to 5 years and 1 month in federal prison; Dontae Williams was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison; and Davon Smith was sentenced to 5 years and 5 months in federal prison - all for engaging in a conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, credit card fraud, and identity theft.
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