West Slope banks among victims in credit-card scam
Two Western Slope banks were victimized in a scheme allegedly headed by an Oakland, Calif.-based, self-described rap impresario, according to a grand jury indictment released Monday.
The statewide grand jury indicted six individuals who Attorney General John Suthers said were involved in an elaborate scam to steal thousands of dollars in the forms of cash advances and products from banks and businesses in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.
The alleged ringleader, Stacy “Dame Fame” Damon Harris, and the other members of the ring made fake credit cards and obtained a toll-free number they printed on the back of the fake credit cards.
Harris describes himself on his website as the chief operating officer of All N Da Doe Records, Keak Da Sneaks label. He also recently started a Fame Management Group and is always looking for fresh talent, according to the website.
“Dame Fame has been in the Rap Game for almost 15 years and has crossed paths with every major rapper to come out of the Bay,” his biography says.
The indictment says the fraud ring used fake credit cards to obtain cash advances and to make purchases. When banks and businesses were unable to authenticate the credit cards, employees called the 800 number printed on the back of the cards, which connected them to people involved in the fraud scheme, the indictment said.
The fraud ring is suspected of talking the businesses’ employees through manual overrides and thus freeing up the cash advances or purchases.
As much as $65,000 was taken from Colorado businesses and banks alone, according to the attorney general’s office.
Along with Harris, 36, the suspects include Tangelar “Tangie” Annette Houston, 33; Dumarco “Deco” Marty, 21; Salina Patrice Lactaoen, 21; Darnell Plazmerell Meals, 22; and Tenisha Nicole Kuykendall. 32.
The Dolores State Bank in Cortez and Montrose Bank each lost between $1,000 and $20,000, according to the indictment.
“This indictment effectively shuts down a multistate fraud ring that stole thousands of dollars from banks and other businesses across Colorado and across the region,” Suthers said. “We will continue to pursue fraud schemes of this nature.”