6 Charged in $650,000 American Express Travelers Check Fraud

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Six people--including a boyfriend and girlfriend and mother and daughter--were charged today with stealing more than $650,000 from retail stores by using hundreds of forged American Express travelers' checks.

Between December 2008 and this month, Tyrone Donte Gray, 33, and his girlfriend Tyrica Jenice Goff, 30, both of Los Angeles, are alleged to have defrauded stores including T.J. Maxx, T.J. Maxx HomeGoods and Marshalls in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. They are also accused of recruiting four others to participate in the crime ring.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office lays out its case after the jump . . .

February 16, 2010

SIX DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN $650,000 AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVELERS' CHECKS FRAUD SCHEME

SANTA ANA - Six defendants have been charged for stealing over $650,000 from retail stores in a fraudulent scheme involving hundreds of forged American Express travelers' checks. The defendants face various charges in a 99-count criminal complaint including felony second degree commercial burglary, felony forgery, felony street terrorism, misdemeanor receiving stolen property, sentencing enhancements for loss over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $65,000, criminal street gang activity, and crime-bail-crime.

Defendant- Age, Residence, Max.Exposure, Bail, Court Date, Relationship.

Tyrone Donte Gray- 33, Los Angeles, 74 years and 8 months, $653,000, 02/16/10 at 8:30 a.m. pre-trial, W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster, Boyfriend of Goff.

Tyrica Jenice Goff- 30, Los Angeles, 82 years and 8 months, $653,000, Warrant issued 02/11/10, Girlfriend of Gray.

Jazmine Williams- 21, Hawthorne, 13 years and 4 months, $126,000, Warrant issued 02/11/2010.

Brittany Ellessee Myvett- 18, Los Angeles, 12 years and 8 months, $126,000, 02/16/10 at 8:30 a.m. arraignment, W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Niesha Sherri Johnson- 25, Lancaster, 6 years, $74,100, 02/16/10 at 8:30 a.m. pre-trial W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster, Daughter of Beard.

Nedra Sherii Beard- 41, Los Angeles, 6 years, $74,100, 02/16/10 at 8:30 a.m. pre-trial, W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster, Mother of Johnson.

Between December 2008 and February 2010, Gray and Goff are accused of participating in a fraudulent scheme to defraud retailers out of over $650,000 through the use of counterfeit American Express travelers' checks. They are accused of recruiting Williams, Myvett, Johnson, and Beard between November 2009 and February 2010 to participate in the scheme. These crimes were committed throughout several Southern California counties including Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside.

The six defendants are accused of using the counterfeit travelers' checks to defraud retail stores including T.J. Maxx, T.J. Maxx HomeGoods, and Marshalls. Each counterfeit check was in the amount of $100.  The defendants are accused of using the checks to purchase store items usually valued over $100. They are accused of using travelers' checks to fraudulently purchase the items and taking cash back for the difference. The defendants are accused of then taking some of the fraudulently purchased items to a different store in the same chain and returning the item for cash.


This case was investigated by the Seal Beach Police Department and United States Secret Service (USSS). The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Seal Beach Detective David Barr at (562) 799-4100 ext. 1110, USSS Los Angeles Field Office Bank Fraud Squad at (213) 894-4830, and Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Frazier at (714) 347-8691. Deputy District Attorney Yvette Patko of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

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