Greenfield police officers expose multi-state credit card scheme

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- Two Greenfield police officers are getting praise for their work exposing a multi-state credit card scheme. The officers were the first to dig into the case and discover key evidence.

The investigation began in January of 2013 with reports of fraudulent credit card use at the Walgreens and Walmart in Greenfield.

Officers Robert Austin and Scott Simons dug into the case and discovered a mass of stolen credit card numbers.

"They start finding all these places around the state and the country that these numbers are being used," Greenfield Assistant Chief of Police Paul Schlecht said.

The affected banks were Educators Credit Union, Chase, Capital One, Wells Fargo and Nordstrom.

Exactly where many of the transactions were made clued investigators in as to where the suspects came from.

"They appear that they are coming up from Chicago doing it along this corridor," Schlecht said.

A big break in the case involved surveillance images from the BP gas station in Greenfield. Images of not only the suspects but their vehicle.

"They`ve got a license plate, but they can`t quite read it because of the camera," Schlecht said.

Investigators enhanced the Illinois plate and made out just a few of the numbers. They asked the DOT for all registrations of Cadillac El Dorados between 995 and 2002. From 9,000 results, they narrowed to one.

Then, the officers called I-PASS.

"So they contact and say 'do they have this license plate in any reads?' And lo and behold, yes they do, and it kind of matches when the car came up to Wisconsin and had gone back," Schlecht said.

The man who owned the I-PASS, Raymond Scott, became their primary suspect.

Greenfield handed off the case to Secret Service, and now, 39-year-old Scott and 42-year-old Tarquin Saunders of Hillside, Illinois face  federal charges.

"The reason this case got solved was we had two officers that went above and beyond," Schlecht said.

The indictment says the men used their counterfeit cards to buy mostly pre-paid credit cards. It is unclear how the suspects got the card numbers they used.

Educators Credit Union suffered the highest loss -- about $27,000.