Three local men indicted in credit card fraud

WILLIAMSPORT — Two State College men are among three people indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in a two-year credit card fraud scheme.

Marshall Scott Bratton, 41, and Michael Alexander, 28, are accused along with Shayne S. Boseman, 35, of Philadelphia, of stealing credit card information from unsuspecting patrons at a State College nightclub and a Philadelphia restaurant. Alexander is being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility on unrelated drug charges.

The 16-count indictment alleges a hand-held device was used to record information from the magnetic tape on the back of credit cards provided to pay bills.

A reader-writer on a computer then was used to transfer the information to credit cards issued to those involved in the scheme, the charges state.

The cloned cards were used to buy television sets, game systems, appliances, furniture, fixtures, jewelry, gasoline and other products, the indictment states.

The charges allege two of the victims of the scheme were customers at the Cell Block in State College in 2006 and 12 others were patrons at the LaCroix Restaurant in the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia in 2007.

The Cell Block’s owner, Erie-based R.M. Perry Inc., opened the State College nightclub in May 2006, said company spokesman Dave Hertwig. He said he was unaware of the indictment and alleged fraud, and that neither Bratton nor Alexander had been Cell Block employees.

“We’ve only had two employees over the age of 27 who have worked at the State College store,” Hertwig said. “They both work for me, and I’ve seen them recently, and their names don’t match to this.”

Hertwig said the Cell Block has safeguards in place against credit card fraud, including not printing full card numbers on receipts and requiring employees to wear identifiable uniforms.

The three men indicted are accused of recruiting others, who were paid in cash, merchandise and drugs, to help obtain credit card information and to make purchases.

Those involved had no trouble providing identifications if requested when making purchases because their names were on the front of the credit cards, authorities said. Only the magnetic strip on the back had been altered, they said.

Alexander, Bratton and Boseman are charged with conspiracy bank fraud and access device fraud.

A break in the case came in January when a relative of Alexander’s, who was arrested in Centre County on drug charges, provided information about the scheme, an official said.

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