LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — A man has pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he offered rides to people who had been drinking in D.C., and then stole their bank cards.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. says 50-year-old Nyerere Mitchell, of Clinton, Maryland, targeted more than 60 people between April 2009 and November 2013.
Mitchell, driving a silver Range Rover and sometimes wearing padded breasts and a wig, would offer rides to individuals he believed had been drinking, according to the investigation.
The victims, in general, were intoxicated, and would give Mitchell their bank cards and pin numbers and allow him to get cash out to pay for their ride. He created situations in which the passengers would provide him with the pin numbers and cards because the ATMs were on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
Authorities say Mitchell often withdrew hundreds of dollars from the ATMs instead of what his “customers” thought would be fees between $10 and $40. He would then switch the victim’s ATM card with another one that he had stolen earlier. Mitchell would then use the stolen card to purchase money orders, many of which he deposited into his credit union account, or make large purchases at retail stores, authorities say.
An investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department led to a search of Mitchell’s home in November. Officers recovered 205 stolen credit cards in plastic bags inside a shoe box. They also found a wig that Mitchell can be seen wearing in bank surveillance footage. Mitchell was arrested Nov. 27.
Mitchell pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of D.C. to five counts of first-degree felony fraud. Each charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and financial penalties.
The plea agreement calls for him to pay $228,036 in restitution. A judge scheduled his sentencing for Oct. 10. He also ordered that Mitchell be incarcerated pending the sentencing.
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