Trio held in Walmart card fraud incident
BAZETTA – Central District Court Judge Tom Campbell needed to wait an extra day before he arraigned a 35-year-old Bangladeshi in connection with dozens of possibly fraudulent credit cards.
”I called the Ohio Supreme Court, and they referred me to a place called Language Line where we were able to find an interpreter who spoke Bengali,” Campbell said after he got the secondhand ”not guilty” plea Thursday through the interpreter for Shaha Jalal of Brooklyn, N.Y.
”He said he was here with a green card. We called the Bangladesh embassy,” the judge said.
Two other men – Mohammad Parvez, 23, also of Brooklyn, and Azzam Fazly, 22, of White Plains, N.Y. – told the judge they were U.S. citizens when they were arraigned Wednesday. All have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of simulation and face pre-trials Monday morning.
Police and deputies found the trio outside Walmart with stacks of what are believed to be fraudulent credit cards.
”One of the men even told me he was born in Texas,” said Campbell, who decided to have the men held in Trumbull County Jail without a chance for bond until federal authorities sort out what Bazetta Detective Joe Sofchek called a complicated case that could take awhile.
”I’m waiting to hear from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today and we’ll go from there,” said Sofchek, adding that the FBI and Secret Service also had been notified. ”We expect more charges,” he said.
A female shopper at Walmart spotted one of the men with a handful of credit cards and called police to report it as suspicious.
Parvez was confronted in the parking lot near the garden center and said his two friends were still inside shopping. Police spotted three other the credit cards stuffed in the car door near the door handle. Parvez used a cell phone to call his two friends.
Deputy Rick Tackett said he called one of the credit card companies, Bank of America, and was told the numerical series on the card didn’t match any they had in circulation.
”I think they’re fraudulent rather than stolen. Some of the cards were in their own names,” Tackett said.
Finally, the other two men approached officers as they came from the newly opened Murphy’s USA gas station.
A police report said a woman also told officers that Fazly left his wallet on the bumper of her car. Police said a photo identification in the photo clearly matched Fazly who had tried to give police another name at first.
Inside the men’s car, police found several more credit cards, iPads, stylus pens and gift cards, including those from Walmart.
It’s believed authorities are trying to tie the incident into similar scams with fake credit cards and Walmart gift cards staged at the stores in Boardman, Austintown, Liberty, Salem and in the Virginia cities of Burke, Chantilly and Fairfax since July 27.