SOUTHSIDE, Ala. (WIAT) — A four-state debit card skimming operation that victimized 300 individuals and seven banks was exposed after Southside police alerted the Alabama Attorney General’s Office regarding a possible gas pump skimmer.
-Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall, Southside Chief of Police Chris Jones, Etowah County District Attorney Jody Willoughby and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams Tuesday announced an arrest and an arrest warrant for an additional suspect in a multi-state debit card skimming operation that stole over $43,000 from debit card holders in Alabama and three other states. Seven banks and more than 300 individuals in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Colorado are believed to have been victimized by the skimmers.
29-year-old Janique Shontie Crafter of Macon, Ga was arrested on April 19 in a joint operation. She was charged with financial transaction card fraud forgery and financial identity fraud. Crafter is currently incarcerated in Bibb County, Georgia awaiting extradition to Alabama, where she faces charges of theft of property in the first degree and identity theft in Etowah County.
The second suspect was identified by authorities as 37-year-old James Edwards Faulks II of Macon. Faulks is also wanted in Georgia on previous warrants and remains at large.
Officials say they were able to trace the skimming to an Etowah County gas station with the help of a local credit union. After officials were able to determine the gas station, they reviewed surveillance footage and obtained the suspects’ license plate number.
“The debit card information that was skimmed in Southside was used to make illegal purchases in Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, Moody, Leeds and Oxford in Alabama, and Atlanta, LaGrange and Macon in Georgia,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Had it not been for the vigilance of a local financial institution in discovering these suspicious transactions and in notifying law enforcement, this criminal activity might still be occurring. Debit card skimming is a serious problem, and the most effective way to turn the tables on crooks is to shut them down early. I’m proud to say teamwork between a local business and law enforcement made a positive difference in this case. In particular, I would like to commend Family Savings Credit Union in Gadsden for its assistance in this case.”
Investigators and agents are working with the Secret Service to develop possible federal charges. The case in Alabama is presently being prosecuted by the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office.