From Sandy Louey:
A 28-year-old Sacramento gang member pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank fraud.
Charles Barksdale entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr., according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Barksdale, also known as Sho, is a member of the G-Mob gang in Sacramento, the release said.
Prosecutors said the scheme caused $1 million to $2 million in losses to financial institutions in late 2007 and early 2008.
The fraud unfolded as follows, the release said:
The schemers - operating from California - sent runners to places such as Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas to use pre-paid credit cards for cash advances at banks.
The cards had only small amounts of money available, but the runners would convince bank tellers to call a toll-free number controlled by a co-schemer.
The co-schemer, posing as a card services representative, would say there were thousands of dollars available on the card and then tell the teller what buttons to press on the card terminal to make the transaction go through.
The runner would keep a portion of the funds and remit a portion, typically half, to Barksdale and others in the Sacramento area. Runners sent money by Federal Express, by wire or by depositing funds into bank accounts controlled by Barksdale and others.
The case against Barksdale was an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with help from local law enforcement agencies around the nation, the release said.
On July 7, 2008, search warrants were executed at multiple locations in Sacramento. Barksdale was in the Sacramento County Main Jail on unrelated charges, the release said.
Upon learning of the searches, he called a woman he knew and used coded language to instruct her to destroy a computer, withdraw funds from a bank account and remove expensive merchandise from a residence, the release said.
The maximum penalty for a bank fraud violation is 30 years in prison. Barksdale's sentencing is April 27.