Couple on the run wanted for sophisticated fraud scheme

DOZENS OF PEOPLE FALL VICTIM TO AN ELABORATE FRAUD SCHEME
April 4, 2014 8:41:14 PM PDT
Harris County Sheriff's Office investigators are hoping the public can lead them to a couple wanted for a sophisticated credit card fraud enterprise involving over 100 known victims.

Kenyatta Packnett, 35, and Sade Craig, 20, were arrested on March 23 after a deputy spotted them in a vehicle illegally parked in a handicapped space in a business parking lot in the 19500 block of the North Freeway in north Harris County.

When the deputy approached the vehicle, he saw Packnett try to hide what appeared to be a large stack of credit cards. As the deputy tried to detain Packnett, he fled on foot but was caught by other deputies in the area. Craig tried to flee the scene in the vehicle but was unsuccessful. Both Craig and Packnett were arrested for evading arrrest. Inside their vehicle, later found to be a rental car from Louisiana, deputies say they found close to $10,000 in cash, $4,500 in gift cards from Target and more than 100 other gift cards.

Both Craig and Packnett quickly bonded out of jail.

In the course of the investigation, investigators found that more than 100 of the gift cards had real victims' credit card information stored on the magnetic strip instead of the gift card information. The stored credit card information allowed Craig and Packnett to use the gift cards to make purchases which were billed to victims' credit and debit card accounts. Many of the victims did not realize their credit and debit card had been compromised until they were contacted by investigators.

Ryan Francis is one of those victims, hit with charges from inside and outside Houston.

He said, "There were several charges for several hundred dollars."

Francis and others still have no idea how the suspects obtained their information.

"That number changes hands every day," he said. "It's going to be hard for people to pinpoint where they could be safer."

On Tuesday, investigators filed felony fraudulent use of identifying information charges on both Packnett and Craig. Both are now wanted. Investigators believe they may still be in Houston or may have fled back to Louisiana.

The HCSO's Financial Crimes Unit encourages citizens to check their bank account and credit card accounts often. If you notice any fraudulent activity, contact your bank institution and law enforcement agency immediately.

If you have any information on the location of these suspects, you're asked to contact the HCSO's Financial Crimes Unit at 713-967-5770 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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