(Harrison, Oh.) - A recent arrest in Harrison has helped authorities crack an international credit card fraud ring.
“This is the kind of well-oiled criminal enterprise that you read about in a novel or see in a movie,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
On Friday, Deters announced a 13 count indictment against three men from Indiana and Ohio. The indictments include Money Laundering, Possession of Criminal Tools, Telecommunications Fraud, Misuse of Credit Cards, Theft, Receiving Stolen Property and Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Indiana resident Christopher Grier, 26, in a traffic stop on Interstate 74 on March 26. During the stop, police found 45 credit cards and a small digital scale in Grier’s car.
Based on information developed in the investigation, the police responded to the Holiday Inn Express in Harrison where they met Jonathan Martin, 26, of Indiana, and Ricky Lonners, 30, of llinois. Lonners is also known as Ricky Conners.
In the hotel room, officers recovered a laptop computer, credit card scanner, 44 additional credit cards and handwritten notes containing credit card information.
Friday’s indictment alleges that the three men stole credit card information and used that information to purchase expensive items such as I-Pads. The items were then sent to a company in China for reimbursement and additional credit card information which they would use for future purchases.
“This was a multi-state criminal enterprise with the total amount of loss to various banking institutions well in excess of $150,000.00. The exact amount of the loss is still being calculated,” Deters said.
If convicted of all charges, the trio each face the possibility of 39 ½ years in prison.
“This case reminds us that everyone needs to be vigilant about protecting their personal information and letting their credit card company know if something looks suspicious on their bill,” Deters said.
Deters thanked the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, RENU, United States Secret Service and Fifth Third Bank for assisting in the investigation.