A Walmart worker stole more than $123,000 in gift cards — and shared them with someone he met online, federal prosecutors said.
Kenneth Werkau, 63, is accused of activating the gift cards at a Moundsville, West Virginia, store from September 2019 to January 2020.
But he never paid for the cards at the cash register, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia said in a news release.
He was indicted Wednesday on three federal wire fraud charges in connection with the case, prosecutors said.
A Facebook user believed to be Werkau didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. No attorney information was listed for him.
Werkau was a Walmart employee when was accused of activating prepaid OneVanilla MasterCard and XBox gift cards. He “would enter into the register that the stolen cards were purchased with cash, when in fact the defendant did not place any cash into the register,” according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Werkau stole $123,775 in gift cards and texted information from them to someone he met online.
“He was actually being scammed — he believed it was real — by a person unknown,” said Lt. Steve Kosek of the Moundsville Police Department, WTOV reported in 2020. “Paulina, there was a female image sent to him. They asked for gift cards, he sent them.”
Police traced the scheme to Werkau, who was caught with gift cards he hadn’t paid for, the station reported. He was terminated from his job in January 2020, according to WTOV.
Werkau could be ordered to spend up to 20 years in prison and pay up to $250,000 in fines if he’s found guilty of the three charges he faces. He lives in Clarington, Ohio, a town across the Ohio River from West Virginia.
Walmart didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.