Three people were indicted in an alleged scheme to pay bond for LaPorte County Jail inmates using stolen credit card information, the U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday.
Gregory Brown, 36, Shakyia Bunch, 30, both of Chicago, and Jeneva Sutton, 31, of Michigan City, were charged in a 13-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access device fraud.
While being held at the LaPorte County Jail from April to July 2016, Brown proposed to other inmates that he would secure their release through payment of bond amounts if they agreed to repay him, according to a news release.
Bunch and Sutton paid various inmates’ bonds by making online wire transfers using credit cards numbers Sutton stole while working at an Illinois hotel, the release said. Eight wire transfers allegedly were completed using four credit card holders’ information.
Sutton was to receive money or property from inmates who had been released or from people associated with inmates who had been released or were seeking release, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Bonds were posted for five inmates as part of the scheme, LaPorte County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Kellems said.
A sixth inmate successfully posted bond in one court, but was being held on charges in a different court and subsequently was not released, he said.
“The inmates that were able to post bond using this scheme were quickly re-arrested and brought back into custody,” Kellems said.
The defendants are accused of buying a Chrysler 300 car with the money from the scheme.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan City Police Department investigated the case.