BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A federal grand jury indicted eight Alabama residents last week for their roles in a prison-based phone scam targeting retailers nationwide, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona.
According to the indictment, from September 2020 through May 2022, the defendants tricked retailers into activating gift cards under fraudulent pretenses and then used the gift cards for various fraudulent purchases.
While incarcerated at Donaldson Correctional Facility, Terry Ray Bradshaw called Home Depot stores throughout the country and used spoofing technology and social engineering techniques to pose as Home Depot executives. He would then trick employees into activating gift cards under false pretenses. Poole Sr, Simon and Bowers then purchased products using those gift cards, which were received by co-conspirators and converted to cash.
The indictment also alleges that from September 2020 through August 2022, Poole Sr., Bowers, Perry and Anderson engaged in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances containing detectable amounts of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana and synthetic cathinones.
A 12 count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charged the eight individuals with wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, as well as substantive wire fraud counts:
- Ricardo Poole, Jr., 25, of Birmingham
- Ricardo Poole Sr., aka “Raoul,” 48, of Bessemer
- Otis Lee Bowers, aka “Big O,” 44, of Bessemer
- Rhonda Thompson Poole, 47, of Bessemer
- Rennita Renee Perry, 28, of Bessemer
- Kiara Reshell Anderson, 30, of Bessemer
- Kortney Jovan Simon, 43, of Harvest
- Terry Ray Bradshaw, aka “Skitzo,” 39, of Remlap
Additional charges were also filed against certain individuals of the group. Poole Sr., Simon and Bradshaw are charged with aggravated identity theft. Poole Sr., Bowers, Perry and Anderson are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
The U.S. Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward J. Canter and John M. Hundscheid are prosecuting the case. The Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division assisted in the investigation.
The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.