DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Highway interdiction officers are searching for a large amount of fake credit and gift cards fueled by thieves skimming gas pumps up and down the interstate.
Agents with the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force made another sizable bust Wednesday on Interstate 40 West in Dickson.
They found thousands of dollars worth of gift cards for pizza and other fast food restaurants.
The discovery was made during a traffic stop that morning. After agents pulled over a rental car, the 32 year old driver, Rhodri Bongam, was unable to find his I.D.
He told them it may have been in a suitcase in the back. Authorities say Bongam then gave consent for them to search a suitcase.
During the search, agents reportedly found a die set, which is used to punch names and numbers onto fraudulent credit cards. They say they also found an embossing machine, which is an even faster way to alter fraudulent credit cards.
Authorities told News 2 this was the first one they had personally seen.
Bongam was ultimately arrested.
A further search of the car yielded fake I.D.s; fraudulent credit cards, and close to 100 gift cards from Pizza Hut, Jimmy Johns, Krispy Kreme and Home Depot. Agents also found expensive designer sunglasses, high top Louis Vuitton sneakers and an exclusive Versace watch.
“When you don’t use your own money, you can buy stuff like that,” one of the agents told News 2.
Bongam is accused of using stolen financial data that he loaded onto gift cards which, unlike Visa and MasterCards, are more difficult to cancel.
According to arresting officers, Bongam made money by selling $50 pizza cards for a cash discount to unsuspecting citizens.
“Fifty to $.80 on the dollar,” one of the agents said.
Bongham, who is a Camaroon national living in Washington D.C., was staying at the Hilton in downtown Nashville and was reportedly paying for his room with fake credit cards.
He has been charged with 18 counts of criminal simulation and was placed in jail on a $92,000 bond.
Bongham had no previous criminal history outside a suspended license.
News 2 reached out to him to get his side of the story, but he declined to be interviewed.