An Ohio man bought stolen credit and debit card information from the dark web to buy gasoline — then he used that stolen gas “to fuel vehicles used to deliver packages for Amazon,” according to authorities.
Charles E. Smith, Jr., 52, of Woodmere, pleaded guilty May 19 in federal court to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection to the scheme, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
Smith is accused of buying the stolen information — which included account numbers and addresses — off the dark web between May 2019 and May 2020. He bought at least 600 stolen debit and credit card accounts, authorities say, with people from 25 states affected.
Once he had the information, authorities say he used blank cards and a credit card reader encoder/writer to create new, usable cards.
With those new cards, he purchased at least $10,621 in gas from various stations in northern Ohio, according to the news release. Officials say he used more than 100 stolen accounts to do so.
Smith’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on May 20.
Authorities have not shared why Smith was fueling vehicles for Amazon deliveries or if he was doing the delivering himself. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.
Smith faces anywhere from two to 12 years in prison, according to the news release. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25.
Woodmere is a suburb in the Greater Cleveland metropolitan area.