According to charges, Emile Rey, 35, and his accomplice Sade Robinson, 21, have been racking up fraudulent charges on dozens of "cloned" credit cards all over the Metro since February of 2015.
On February 27, Rey first used a credit card number from a victim in Savage, Minn. to purchase a gift card at the Target in Eagan, Minn. According to investigators, the victim still had his or her credit card in their possession. Rey made a total of 21 fraudulent transactions between February 27 and March 23 at that Target.
Rey used what appear to be cloned credit cards to purchase $100 ‘Vanilla' and ‘Green dot' gift cards, the complaint stated. With a $6 transaction fee per gift card, his total fraud on these dates came to $2,231.35, with an additional nine transactions totaling $959.35 being declined.
What is a 'cloned' credit card?
A cloned credit card, which may be blank or have the suspect's name on the front of the card, has an account number of an unsuspecting victim encoded onto the back. The victim usually still has their original credit card with them and is unaware of fraudulent charges, until they're noticed by either the company or the victim.
Investigators learned that Rey was associated with Robinson, who made 11 transactions buying gift cards at the same Target in Eagan. She was also using what is believed to be cloned credit cards. Robinson racked up $1,166 on the cloned credit cards, with an additional four transactions totaling $424 being declined.
Target determined most of the gift cards had been redeemed in the greater Chicago area, while several were used to purchase Illinois state toll passes, where Rey is initially from.
An investigator installed an electronic tracking device onto Robinson's vehicle pursuant to a court order. The vehicle was tracked at multiple Target and Walmart stores in Eagan, Burnsville, Richfield, Bloomington, Savage, Inver Grove Heights, Saint Paul, West Saint Paul, Oakdale, Stillwater, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Apple Valley, Woodbury, and Oak Park Heights.
Specifically, the vehicle was tracked to Target stores on 39 occasions and Walmart stores on 9 separate occasions.
Robinson spoke to the investigator and admitted that she and Rey were using cloned credit cards to purchase gift cards. She gave an estimate of $10,000 worth of gift cards that she alone had purchased.
"At Target, we actively take steps to help ensure the safety and security of our guests, team members and property. Target's partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement are central to our work to keep our stores safe and secure. We also believe that by sharing our significant security resources and ideas with law enforcement, we can work together to build safer communities. However, as you can likely understand, we typically don't get into specific details," Target spokesperson Molly Snyder said.
Home Depot data breach
Investigators determined there were 25 different credit card numbers used, and they all appeared to be issued by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo found that all 25 card numbers were compromised in the Home Depot data breach. Home Depot did not offer comment on the incident.
66 cloned credit cards retrieved
A search warrant executed at Robinson's residence on June 10 resulted in officers finding a total of 66 cloned credit cards, and a multitude of "vanilla", "Visa", and "American Express" gift cards.