APD PROUD: Congratulations to APD Major Fraud Unit Investigator Kenneth Stapler, certified fraud examiner, for his great work tracking down a white collar repeat offender responsible for stealing more than $1.1 million in a credit card scheme.
Between April of 2014 and November 11, 2015, Joseph Brown victimized 15 people, including plastic surgeons, doctors, and restaurant owners by piecing together information about customer accounts managed by a credit card processing company. Brown called a local credit card processing company 345 times and obtained enough information about more than a dozen of these accounts to authenticate himself as the owner of the businesses. Brown was able to divert money into multiple fraudulent bank accounts, obtained original contracts, and applications related to the victims accounts. Access was gained to the victims personal identifying information, such as social security numbers. Brown stole more than $1.1 million but some of the transactions were reversed by the customers taking notice, Brown pocketed more than $450,000. APD Investigator Stapler started with a $5,800 complaint from a single victim and followed all of the leads until the sheer volume of fraud crimes being committed by the suspect were fully brought to light. On November 11, 2015, APD’s Major Fraud Unit executed search warrants at Brown’s home and arrested the defendant. Dozens of credit cards, driver’s licenses in other people’s names, bank account documents for fraudulent accounts, home loan documents, laptops, iPads, cell phones, $145,000 in cash, and $23,000 in blank money orders were all discovered in the home. Brown pled guilty to Theft by Taking, Computer Theft, Identity Fraud, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Brown has 26 previous arrests and 9 prior felony convictions in DeKalb, Cobb, Douglas, and Fulton counties. Brown was sentenced to 10 years of probation in Cobb County in 2012 for Identity Fraud. Thanks also to the prosecutorial efforts of Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s office, Brown was sentenced as a no-parole recidivist to 30 years in prison, to serve 17. Brown was also ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution to the local credit card processing company. Full release from the DA’s office here: https://bit.ly/2TKPbpp