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Local credit card fraud arrests could lead to bigger arrests

The arrests of Khadim Jawneh and Mohamed Diarra for credit card fraud didn’t bring down a major credit card theft ring. But it could.

The pair was arrested Nov. 19 after the Greenville Police Department was alerted by employees at Fred’s that two men had attempted to make purchases at the store using multiple credit cards issued under different names.

“The two suspects left the store before officers arrived,” said Capt. Justin Lovvorn, commander of the GPD’s Criminal Investigation Division. “Sgt. Danny Bond was able to locate a vehicle that matched the description given by a Fred’s manager as it was traveling on the bypass towards Interstate 65. He conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, and when he approached the vehicle to speak with the driver, he observed several different credit cards in the vehicle. The driver confirmed that they had just come from Fred’s.  Sgt. Bond then notified investigators who responded to the traffic stop.”

A search of the vehicle and the suspects turned up 68 credits cards and a card scanner, which is used to load personal information onto a blank card.

Investigators contacted the Secret Service and the agencies conducted a joint interview of the suspects, who are believed to be a part of a larger crime ring that could extend up the east coast.

Jawneh, 24, of Atlanta, was charged with 59 counts of possession of a forged instrument, second degree, and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Diarra, 43, of New Jersey, were charged with 58 counts of possession of a forged instrument, second degree, and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. The secret service has also filed federal charges of fraud and will take custody of the suspects within the week.

“We were very happy to make these arrests, but the arrests would not have bee made if the store personnel at Fred’s had not done an extremely good job with identifying wrongdoing,” said Chief Lonzo Ingram.

The investigation by the Secret Service is ongoing and more arrests are possible.

Lovvorn said area businesses can help prevent this type of crime by taking a moment to check the receipt following a credit card purchase.

“The receipt will display the last four digits of the card,” he said. “Those digits should match the last four digits on the front of the card. If they don’t, you are dealing with a forged credit card and you should hold the card and notify local law enforcement at that point.”