Indicts 22 in
Stolen Payment Cards for Bitcoin Crackdown
June 1, 2021
individuals have been indicted on fraud and identity theft
charges for allegedly purchasing and using credit, debit, and
gift cards that were stolen in a cyber attack from a national
According to an indictment unsealed in the Northern District of
Illinois, the cyber attack occurred in 2016 and 2017 when an
individual installed a malicious software program on multiple
computers of the retail chain, which is headquartered in the
Chicago area. The malware allowed the co-schemer to capture data
from more than three million payment cards, including credit
cards, debit cards, and gift cards, that had been used at more
than 400 of the company’s retail stores. The co-schemer then
sold the card data for $4 million in bitcoin to another
individual, who in turn sold it online to thousands of others,
including the 22 charged defendants, the indictment states.
The defendants used data from the cards to purchase items at
businesses throughout the country, including restaurants, gas
stations, and hotels, the charges allege. At least 80 people
were victimized by the defendants’ conduct, the indictment
Twenty defendants were arrested this month and have begun making
initial appearances in federal courts throughout the country.
Two defendants remain at large and are believed to be residing
overseas. The investigation remains ongoing.
The indictment and arrests were announced by John R. Lausch,
Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of
Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the
Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented
by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter M. Flanagan and Thomas P.
with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft are BARRY SHI, 35,
of Rosemead, Calif.; ANDREW DARIEN MCLEOD, 26, of Brooklyn,
N.Y.; JAMEL T. WILLIAMS, 30, of Raleigh, N.C.; SAAQUAN RAM, 33,
of Grand Rapids, Mich.; JAMES B. GIBBS, 32, of South Carolina;
YI LIU, 32, of Temple City, Calif.; CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, 38, of
Monroe Township, N.J.; DAJUAN GEE, 32, of Redmond, Mich.; YANG
SONG, 34, of Rosemead, Calif.; JAYVON A. PUGH, 23, of Brooklyn,
N.Y.; KADEEM DEAN, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; ENPING QU, 26, of
Calif.; CAN JIANG, 27, of San Gabriel, Calif.; ESRON A. MURRELL,
30, of Jamaica, N.Y.; ZANPENG CHEN, 27, of Los Angeles, Calif.;
JEFF MURAT, 41, of Miami, Fla.; CHRISTOPHER T. THOMPSON, 32, of
Woodland Hills, Calif.; JOHN LIU, 37, of West Covina, Calif.;
SADIKIFU NAWAB SHABAZZ, 42, of Atlanta, Ga.; BYRON HICKMAN, 32,
of New York, N.Y.; CLIVE BAKER, 26, of New York, N.Y.; and DAVIN
SMART, 31, of Spotsylvania, Va.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of
guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a
fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Wire fraud is punishable by up
to 20 years in federal prison, while aggravated identity theft
carries a mandatory, consecutive prison sentence of two years.
If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under
federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.