A scheme to deceive credit card companies and banks into making credit and debit card payments for merchants involved with high-risk and prohibited businesses such as online gambling, debt collection and payday lending was alleged to have been committed by Thomas Wells, 74, of Martin County.
According to court documents and statements during the plea proceeding Thomas Wells, 74, from Martin County, falsely claimed that his merchant clients were involved in low-risk retail sales to obtain credit and debit card payment processing for these clients from banks or credit card companies. Through his company Priority Payout Wells introduced merchant clients to Allied Wallet Inc. to obtain payment processing. This payment processing company was an intermediary between merchants who wanted to accept debit or credit cards and financial institutions which were members of the global electronic payments networks operated by credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Wells’ clients were merchants involved in high-risk or prohibited transactions, as well as merchants who had been removed from card payment networks like Visa and Mastercard due to fraud, chargeback or other compliance issues. Wells confessed that he conspired to defraud various financial institutions and credit cards companies by convincing them to provide payment processing services for merchant clients. Wells and his co-conspirators were able to accomplish this by creating shell companies, creating fake websites, and using industry-standard codes to misclassify the transaction’s true nature. Wells admitted that he earned approximately $700,000 from the scheme.
Wells faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years’ supervised release, restitution, and forfeiture. After considering all relevant U.S. factors, a federal district court judge will decide any sentence. The Sentencencing Guidelines and other statutory elements.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell of District of Massachusetts; Special Agent In Charge Jeffrey Ebersole of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations New York Field Office; and Inspector in Charge Ketty Larco-Ward of U.S. The announcement was made by Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Boston. The case is being pursued by Randall Warden, Trial Attorney of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy chief Seth B. Kosto of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts.
MLARS’s Bank Integrity Unit investigates, prosecutes, and reports on banks and other financial institutions. This includes their officers, managers and employees.
The charges document contains allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a court.