Follow-up: Final Member of DC-Area Restaurant Card-Skimming Ring Sentenced

A Maryland man who was the third leader of a card-skimming ring victimizing Washington, D.C.-area restaurants was sentenced in federal court last week to 81 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Erick V. Burton, age 38, of District Heights, Md., was also ordered to pay $814,673.20 in restitution, as were his co-conspirators.

Burton is the last member of the conspiracy to be sentenced. Two other leaders of the conspiracy – Joseph Artemus Bush III, age 28, of Fort Washington, Md., and Aaron D. Gilbert, age 25, of Bowie, Md. – were sentenced to 84 months in prison and 44 months, respectively and also ordered to pay restitution.

According to court documents, from November 2007 to March 2009, Burton, Bush and Gilbert conspired to pay servers at restaurants in Washington, D.C., – including Clyde’s, M&S Grill, and 701 Restaurant – to skim the credit card numbers of paying customers. The three men re-encoded existing credit cards with the skimmed card numbers and used the cards to purchase gift cards and merchandise at retail stores in northern Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and elsewhere.

The scheme resulted in thousands of transactions with skimmed credit card numbers, resulting in a known loss of approximately $815,000.00 affecting more than 50 financial institutions. Authorities also recovered several fraudulent IDs and Social Security cards with Gilbert’s photo and established a separate scheme in which he had applied for lines of credit at various stores – including Zales, Kay Jewelers, Home Depot, Sears, Circuit City, and Lowes – using other individuals’ names and identifying information. Gilbert used the credit lines to purchase merchandise, which Bush later sold for half the face value. Bush, Burton and Gilbert shared in the proceeds of those sales.

According to court documents, Bush paid the servers $20 per skimmed credit card number. The following servers pled guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and have been sentenced:

  • Jamaal Snowden, age 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md., who worked at Clyde’s Restaurant and is responsible for card numbers that resulted in approximately $110,000 worth of purchases affecting more than 10 financial institutions. He was sentenced to 8 months in prison, followed by 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $110,771.44 in restitution.
  • Simone Carrie Diane Folk, age 28, of Brentwood, Md., who worked at M&S Grill and is responsible for card numbers that resulted in approximately $199,000 worth of purchases affecting 33 financial institutions. She was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, followed by 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $137,542.15 in restitution.
  • Vasha Monique Carter, age 31, of St. Augustine, Fl., who worked at M&S Grill and is responsible for card numbers that resulted in approximately $21,000 worth of purchases affecting 11 financial institutions. She was sentenced to 4 months in prison and 4 months community confinement, followed by 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $21,058.03 in restitution.
  • Lavelle Payne, age 41, of Washington, D.C., who worked at 701 Restaurant and is responsible for card numbers that resulted in approximately $78,000 worth of purchases affecting more than 10 financial institutions. She was sentenced to 20 days in prison, 6 months home confinement, followed by 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $78,446.87 in restitution.
  • Shannon Eileen McLaughlin, age 23, of Oxon Hill, Md., who worked at M&S Grill and is responsible for card numbers that resulted in approximately $150,000 worth of purchases affecting more than 50 financial institutions. She was sentenced to 4 months in prison, followed by 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $153,512.39 in restitution.

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