BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ricky Butler, Catherine Jarrett and Randy Jarrett have been charged by Criminal Complaint with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. In addition, Ricky Butler is charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two year consecutive sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between July 2013 and February 2014, Butler, Catherine Jarett, Randy Jarrett, and others conspired to execute a scheme which involved taking control of legitimate credit card accounts. Without the true account holder’s knowledge or authority, the defendants obtained new or replacement credit cards which were then used to make unauthorized purchases at Wal-Mart stores and other retail establishments in New York and Pennsylvania.
The purchases, which were mostly store gift cards in large dollar amounts, were made by women who had been solicited by Butler and others to travel with Butler and use the fraudulently obtained credit cards. Three of those women - Danielle Hamilton, Tiara Baker and Tamika Favors - have already been charged with access device fraud in connection with their use of such unauthorized cards. According to the complaint, the scheme involved 95 credit card accounts at five financial institutions which were used to conduct over 1,000 fraudulent transactions totaling over $850,000 in actual losses. In addition, close to 200 fraudulent transactions, totaling approximately $193,000, were attempted, but ultimately declined.
The Criminal Complaint is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shelly Binkowski, and the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tracy Gast.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.