Woman charged for financial transaction card fraud

Published 7:55 am Monday, August 14, 2017

A woman who allegedly used another person’s credit cards for unauthorized transactions was charged in Mower County District Court on Friday.

Tashonda Shenay Thomas, 25, of Austin was charged with felony financial transaction card fraud — use without consent and felony financial transaction card fraud —use forged/false/fictitious card.

According to the court report, Austin Police received a fax from the Maple Grove Police Department about a credit card fraud reported in their jurisdiction. Maple Grove Police said a woman reported to them that her Master Card had been closed and another had been issued with Thomas’ name on it.

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Austin Police saw that the card had been mailed to an address in the 1100 block of 13th Avenue Northeast and that more than $1,000 had been charged to the victim’s account without her permission.

An Austin police officer contacted the victim, who said she learned her account had been hacked. She had her bank close the fraudulent card and issue her a third card, but the bank also issued a new card to Thomas. The victim had the third account closed and a fourth card issued to her name only.

The victim later sent documents to the Austin Police indicating she had received a $15.56 credit to her T.J. Maxx account. When she tried to access it online, she discovered that her home phone number, cell phone number and email address on her account had been changed and her home address had been changed to Thomas’ home address.

Reviews of the victim’s credit card statements showed the following unauthorized transactions:

•Two cash advances of $500 from the Austin Wells Fargo Bank dated April 12 and April 18, both with $20 advance fees;

•Two Charter Communications payments for $260.08 and $233.91 dated April 13;

•Payment to Sprint Wireless for $97.98 dated April 19.

Police learned the Charter Communications account and Sprint Wireless accounts belonged to Thomas. Video stills from Well Fargo Bank showed Thomas conducting the cash advances.

Police executed a search warrant on Thomas’s residence on Aug. 9. They seized three store credit cards (Toys R Us, American Eagle and Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy/Athleta), a Wells Fargo Platinum debit card issued to Thomas, a credit card with the name and address of a person in Garden City, Michigan, a Gap letter for credit card activation for a woman in Austin and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Thomas told police that “the cards kept coming,” but she did not use them. Police showed her the documents indicating the transactions. She admitted to paying bills, but denied the cash advances, even after police showed her the video stills.

Thomas had previously been involved in a financial fraud case in which she received credit cards from her boyfriend, “Fred Brown,” who she told police was “overseas on a mission” and sent her credit cards to buy things for him and his friends. She told police she had never met “Fred Brown” in person. Police told her she was involved in a scam criminal enterprise and told her to stop immediately.

Thomas is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 24.