for Gift-Card Counterfeiting Scheme
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A Chinese man who entered the country illegally four months ago has been indicted by a Coshocton County grand jury on 309 felony charges related to a gift-card counterfeiting scheme, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced today.
Ming Xue, 32, of Hunan, Fujian, faces 308 counts of counterfeiting and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court.
“This man was clearly on a nefarious mission to rip off as many Ohio consumers as possible,” Yost said. “Hats off to the deputies who followed their instincts and got him off the streets before he could inflict more harm.”
The indictment against Xue stems from his arrest on Dec. 5 by deputies from the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office who were participating in the seasonal Shop With a Cop program for area children in need. At the Walmart in Coshocton, Xue was allegedly seen hiding unloaded gift cards on his body. The deputies later found hundreds of additional gift cards in his vehicle.
Xue is suspected of participating in a scheme with others in which they stole unloaded gift cards, altered them and placed them back into display racks. When consumers purchased the altered gift cards, they then allegedly stole the cash placed on the cards.
Authorities say Xue, who is believed to have entered the country in September via California, does not have the required documentation to be in the U.S.
The case is being prosecuted by the office of Coshocton County Prosecutor Ben Hall, with assistance from the Consumer Protection Section’s Economic Crimes Unit, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigation Commission – all part of AG Yost’s office.
“While I will not speak to the facts of a pending case, I will indicate that this is one of the largest indictments in Coshocton County history,” Hall said. “I’d like to thank the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for their assistance in this matter.”
Indictments contain only allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proved guilty in court.
You can find links to Xue’s indictment here: