Ringleader of credit card fraud, cigarette smuggling scheme sentenced

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth man who coordinated an elaborate credit card and identify theft scheme involving members from Hampton Roads and the Washington D.C. metro area was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday.

33-year-old Travon Williams had previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes and aggravated identity theft, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

He was the ringleader of the 12-member operation, which would purchase thousands of stolen credit and debit card numbers on black market websites and then use that information to buy merchandise ranging from gift cards to cartons of cigarettes, according to court documents.

Williams and two other members of the group would also take those cigarettes and resell them for profit to buyers that would travel down from New York City. The group netted thousands of dollars from the sales, with Williams himself getting $415,000 of the proceeds.

Williams is the sixth person to be sentenced in this case, with others so far receiving sentences ranging from 2 to 84 months. All 12 have pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office also says co-defendant Rodriguez Norman has also pleaded guilty to participating in an organized dog fighting conspiracy.

34-year-old Eugene Cuffee of Norfolk will be the next member to face sentencing. His sentencing date is scheduled for Feb. 2.