NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A retired couple from Ohio on their way to Florida for the winter received a disturbing call from Tennessee investigators.
The officers asked the couple, ages 72 and 80, if they were missing a large sum of money.
It turned out, according to authorities, that the alleged group of identity thieves had allegedly stolen tens of thousands of dollars in cash from unsuspecting victims.
The quartet of alleged con artists was put in jail Tuesday, Jan. 10, after a series of traffic stops.
The 72-year-old victim, who preferred to remain anonymous, told News 2 about the call she received from one of the interdiction agents shortly after the scam was discovered.
“‘Have you noticed any money missing?’ My husband said, ‘no,'” she said. According to investigators, it began to unravel for the Ohio quartet on Monday, Jan. 9, when an interdiction agent stopped a rental car on the interstate.
In the car were 58-year-old Steven Clark and 23-year-old Michael Williams.
The agent found a printer and blank ID cards. The agent believed the men are up to no good, but did not have any proof.
Williams told the officer that the cards and printer were part of his business and the officer let the car go with a warning.
The very next day, the officer pulled over a Dodge Durango with Ohio plates. Inside the car were Clark and Williams, the same two men from the traffic stop the day before.
Also in the SUV was 24-year-old Jerria White and 26-year-old Demetrius Mackey, a fugitive of justice. The officers discovered the group had $25,000 in cash on their person, while also finding multiple fake IDs with Clark’s face on them. The cards appeared to be from states like Florida, Michigan and Ohio, and had different people’s names and personal information.
According to investigating agents, Clark used the fake IDs and walked into banks that the victims did business with. In the case of the couple from Ohio, Clark reportedly walked into a Fifth Third Bank in Nashville on Jan. 9, used the fake ID with the Ohio couple’s info, and withdrew $5,000 in cash.
The next day, the victim told News 2, $5,000 more was stolen from their account. This time the suspect went into a Fifth Third bank in Madison.
“At first it was kind of like unreal disbelief. Then it was like, ‘Let’s take care of the problem.’ I said to (my husband), ‘Did you take $5,000 out of my account? Did I transfer that to you?’ He said, ‘No, that is not my signature.’ He said, ‘They hit you. You’ve been hit.’ I said, ‘Oh darn,'” the 72-year-old woman recalled.
The same day the Madison bank was targeted, authorities pulled over the alleged gang’s SUV in Hendersonville and everyone went to jail.
“I just would like to get a hold of these people and say, ‘What do you think you are doing? Clean up your act. How would your mother feel about this?'” the woman said.
Agents told News 2 there are 19 victims so far, but that number could increase once they access the computer and thumb drives they confiscated.
Interdiction agents would like to warn all of us to closely monitor our bank accounts for signs of fraud.
The victim said she was less concerned for herself and more concerned for other victims who may have suffered a loss and have been deeply harmed by the financial hit.