Men face charges for credit card fraud


Two men face a litany of charges that have been added onto a pile of ex­ist­ing charges af­ter be­ing found in pos­ses­sion of 83 coun­ter­feit credit and gift cards al­most two years ago.

On March 9, 2016, Hamil­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice deputies pulled over a sil­ver Chevro­let Mal­ibu in the 1700 block of Oolte­wah-Ring­gold Road af­ter a man­ager at Food City re­ported two men had tried to buy money or­ders with credit cards, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

The store had im­ple­mented a new pol­icy that money or­ders were to be bought with cash only, be­cause such fraud­u­lent pur­chases had been made at lo­cal stores. The two men, 28-year-old Sir Coo­ley and 28-year-old Donyelle Cullins, left the store and got into the car, which was pulled over by law en­force­ment shortly af­ter.

An ar­rest af­fi­davit states a K-9 unit was called to the scene be­cause “credit card fraud of this na­ture is used fre­quently by nar­cotics traf­fick­ers” and the dog alerted on the car.

Deputies found a bun­dle of 33 credit cards hid­den in the car dur­ing a sub­se­quent search, all in Cullins’ name, as well as an­other 50 in Coo­ley’s name. Deputies also found a back­pack con­tain­ing 35 gift cards from var­i­ous stores, as well as Western Union money or­ders for $499.

The cards, on their faces, ap­peared to have been is­sued to banks from across the coun­try, but when in­ves­ti­ga­tors scanned them, they found the num­bers were as­signed to a dif­fer­ent bank. Five of the num­bers that came back were from Ten­nessee Val­ley Fed­eral Credit Union, some of which had been closed or had fraud alerts.

All 83 cards were miss­ing a holo­graphic im­age on the back of the card and the sig­na­ture and mag­netic strips were miss­ing built-in se­cu­rity fea­tures.

Charges were filed against both men in Hamil­ton County Gen­eral Ses­sions Court, but a grand jury also re­turned an in­dict­ment against them on more than 30 charges sev­eral months later. Both men are sched­uled to ap­pear in Gen­eral Ses­sions Court and Crim­i­nal Court in March on dozens of charges in­clud­ing crim­i­nal sim­u­la­tion, theft of iden­tity and theft of prop­erty.

Con­tact staff writer Em­mett Gienapp at egien­app@times­freep­ress. com or 423-757-6731. Fol­low hm on Twit­ter @em­mettgien­app.

Sir Coo­ley

Donyelle Cullins

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