Feds charge 3 with Walmart money scheme involving Valley stores

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The scheme used the Walmart2Walmart money transfer service

Walmart

WKBN

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Four people are facing federal charges in connection with a money transfer scheme involving Walmart stores in Liberty, Poland and Austintown, among others.

John Lee Watkins, 31, of Stow; Valerie Marie Masongsong, 29, of Henderson, Nevada and Terrell Tomlin, 32, of Ogden, Utah are charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, the trio is accused of using Walmart2Walmart, a money transfer service, to defraud banks.

The Walmart money transfer service allows customers to initiate a money transfer at one store to be picked up by someone else at another store anywhere in the United States.

Investigators say the trio used a bank card from each other or a fictitious person to initiate a transfer and then report the transfer as fraudulent to the cardholder’s bank to seek a refund.

Then, the transferred money would be collected at the Walmart location before the bank had a chance to investigate the “fraudulent” transfer.

Other stores targeted include locations in Stow, Streetsboro, Kent, Akron and other locations in Northeast Ohio.

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