Snohomish County, WA – Five members of a Snohomish and King County Fraud Ring have been charged with compromising the internal gift card system of major National Retailer, Target Corporation, and defrauding the retailer and its legitimate customers of almost $800,000 in gift cards.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, 29-year old Jeffery Douglas Mann of Marysville and 33-year old Joshua Newman of Kirkland were taken into custody for allegedly stealing gift card balances worth more than $785,000 from Target using a special reverse algorithm to reverse-engineer and identify unique bar code numbers on thousands of authentic gift cards sold by Target to legitimate customers between May 2017 and December 2017.
A third defendant, 30-year old Corey Mosey of Lynnwood, WA is in Washington State custody on unrelated charges. Two Remaining defendants, 22-year old Kennady Weston and 26-year old Derrick Quintana both of Everett, WA are being sought by Law Enforcement.
After fraudulently obtaining the gift card numbers, members of the scheme then used the retailer’s automated customer service telephone system to verify balances linked to the various stolen gift card numbers. They then allegedly loaded active gift card numbers onto a mobile or electronic wallet app on their phones, which the co-conspirators used to purchase merchandise and legitimate gift cards at various Target store locations across five states including Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Colorado. According to court documents, the co-conspirators allegedly often sold illegally purchased goods or store gift cards for bitcoin on an internet marketplace.
On one occasion in November 2017, Jeffery Douglas Mann, Kennady Weston, Derrick Quintana and others used roughly 180 compromised gift card numbers to make $6,900 in purchases at the Southcenter Mall Target store in Tukwila, WA.
When the actual cardholders later tried to use their gift cards, they discovered that they had a zero balance. In December of 2017, Target modified its gift card system in response to the fraud, putting and end to the scheme.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the Kirkland, Lynnwood, and West Linn (OR) Police Departments, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Masada and Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Diggs. Mr. Diggs is an attorney with the Social Security Administration specially designated to prosecute fraud cases in federal court.