Police: White Supremacist Group Used Gift Cards In Counterfeiting Scheme
FULLERTON (CBSLA.com) — Four suspected white supremacists are facing burglary and other charges in an alleged counterfeiting scheme involving gift cards, police said Wednesday.
On Mar. 5, detectives located and arrested four suspects in connection with an elaborate scheme that involved the production of counterfeit currency, which was then used to purchase American Express gift cards from local Target stores, according to Fullerton Police.
An investigation by Fullerton detectives, along with investigators from the US Secret Service and agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, resulted in the arrests of Raymond Walter Thomas, 41; Sean Michael Wallace, 38; and 40-year-old Brenda Wallace.
Investigators believe the group is responsible for thefts dating back to November 2012 and totaling more than $2,200 from locations in Fullerton, Orange, Buena Park, La Habra and Anaheim Hills.
The suspects are accused of counterfeiting $20 and $100 bills and then using the currency to purchase the American Express gift cards that could then be used for other purchases without arousing suspicions, according to Sgt. Jeff Stuart.
The suspects were located and arrested at a motel in Costa Mesa, where they were in possession of $1,600 in counterfeit currency, as well as a printer, paper and other items used in the manufacture of the counterfeit currency, police said.
A fourth suspect, Whitney Michelle Okel, 34, was arrested at a mobile-home park in Santa Ana. It is believed that they were printing as much as $1,200 dollars in counterfeit currency on a weekly basis.
All four are suspected of having ties to local white supremacist gangs and have been charged with crimes including burglary, forgery and possession of counterfeiting plates, police said.
Anyone with information on any of the four suspects is asked to contact Detective Robert Barnes of the Fullerton Police Department at (714)738-6786.