Beaverton man accused of debit card fraud scheme

Crime

Credit union customers received suspicious texts followed by a phone call

Credit Card Changes Q and A_210373

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Beaverton man has been charged with bank fraud. Authorities allege that he impersonated a bank employee in order to access customers’ financial information which was then used to make purchases and ATM withdraws, according to a release from the US Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon.

A fraud investigator with Rivermark Credit Union first brought the case to the attention of the Portland Police on March 30, 2020, according to court documents. The credit union had received numerous reports from its members that they were receiving suspicious text messages that asked them to confirm or deny a recent transaction. After a victim responded to deny the transaction, they received a phone call from someone who claimed to be a credit union employee — that person then asked for their debit card and PIN numbers “in order to disable their card,” court documents stated.

That personal financial information was then used to make purchases and ATM withdraws in the Portland metro area with a clone of the victim’s debit card.

Once the police were involved, they worked with a local Bank of America ATM and used surveillance video to identify a suspect. Police allege that 30-year-old Winston Gray “made three consecutive withdrawals of $203 each from the ATM” using a credit union member’s account. Court documents also stated that Gray was allegedly linked to another fraudulent ATM withdrawal using a different account, as well as to two money order purchases on the same day.

Court documents stated that these fraudulent transactions happened between March 29 and April 8.

A week after, on April 15, detectives served a search warrant to Gray at his home in Beaverton. During the search, authorities found: blank cards with magnetic strips, a Bluetooth card writer (used to re-encode the magnetic strips on credit cards), multiple stolen credit and debit cards, as well as driver’s licenses, more than $10,000 in cash, a gun, cocaine, and clothing that matched with the suspect in the surveillance footage wore. Court documents stated that authorities also found “handwritten instructions on creating stolen identities and committing credit card fraud.”

Gray was arrested following the search and seizure of evidence. According to the District Attorney’s Office, his first court appearance was on Friday.

If convicted of bank fraud, Gray could face up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1 million.

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