Three women were indicted last week by a Pike grand jury of rations for more than 50 criminal charges for allegedly being involved in a scheme in which they tried to collect tens of thousands of dollars from the accounts of people whose data they acquired from identity thieves in the internet.
The grand jury indicted Nicole S. Bell, 29, of New York, Brandell E. Charleston, 36, Bethlehem, PA, and Jessica Pomelow, 30, Brooklyn, New York, of two Class D criminal charges of embezzlement fraud and 49 grade D felony charges the second degree, illegal possession of a fake tool.
Pikeville Police Department. Bruce Collins said the case came to his department in August thanks to a cashier at the Paykville branch of an American bank who suspected a man trying to cash a check.
The cashier, according to Collins, checked and found that not all the data about the person who cashed the check and the account holder match.
“After a little extra work with the cashier, she realized that things didn’t quite fit together,” Collins said.
Collins said that the teller told the problems to Pike County Deputy Sheriff, who was at the bank at the time, and the Sheriff’s assistant received a description of the car and followed a still-retired child. Virgil Ray could answer and stop the car.
Collins said the assistant sheriff was able to identify one of the three women in the car as the one trying to cash the check.
Collins said officers interrogating women became suspicious.
“They had no baggage,” he said. “They really could not provide us with a good reason why they were here.”
A search of the car, according to Collins, showed a bag under the driver’s seat, which contained an amazing find for officers.
In the bag, he said, were various professional-type checks, as well as identification cards with information about various persons, as well as credit cards, relevant information about the checks. On the ID cards, Collins said, there were two photographs of women with different names and identification information.
Collins said that the subsequent investigation was instructive for him, as the officers found that the information contained in the checks, credit cards and ID cards was purchased by one of the women from the “dark web.” “Identity thieves using either credit cards “skimmers” or stealing information from the Internet, collected information that a woman then went online and bought.
“She bought American bank accounts and ID cards, everything related to these accounts, she bought them online on the dark web,” Collins said. “As soon as he was sent to her, she took a couple of assistants, and they went in pursuit of cashing checks.”
Collins said that at the time they stopped at Pikeville, the women had already raised $ 10,000 using the stolen information, and they had checks totaling about $ 68,000, which were to be cashed in a bag.
Despite the success of the case, Collins said, the officers remain questioned.
“How many times have they done this and achieved success?” Collins said, adding that no information was found in the materials seized from the women about the clients of local American banks.
During his arrest in August, Bell was also charged with hiding from justice in Charlottesville, Virginia and Fairfax and Green counties in Virginia, and hiding from justice in Spartanburg, South Carolina.