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      Traffic stop ends in fraudulent credit, debit and gift card bust

      Michelle Ayala

      An Illinois State Police (ISP) District 9 Trooper foiled a fraudulent credit card and identification operation during a routine traffic stop.

      The District 9 Trooper stopped a rented gray Dodge Caravan for no front license plate and improper lane usage in the passing lane on I-55 near Springfield. A check of the driver TMs license revealed the female driver, Michelle Ayala, 37, had two felony warrants for deceptive practices. Two passengers were also identified as Philip Bush, 51 and Felicia Mullon, 38.

      The Trooper discovered a significant amount of fraudulent credit, debit, and gift cards inside the vehicle from reputable retail establishments. Blank driver TMs licenses and identification cards from multiple states were also found with machines used to produce fraudulent identification cards, holograms, driver TMs licenses, and credit cards. A search also revealed approximately $12,362 on the driver and two passengers.

      The holiday season is big business for criminals, counterfeiters, and identity thieves who are busy plying their trade with scams and fraudulent activity across state lines, said ISP Director Hiram Grau. This traffic stop prevented a ring of counterfeiters from exploiting and compromising the identity and personal information from hundreds of potential victims, he stressed.

      Ayala, Bush, and Mullon were arrested and charged with possession of altering credit cards (Class 3 felony), possession of stolen goods (Class 4 felony), possession of fraudulent credit cards (Class 3 felony), and possession of a machine to make counterfeit credit cards (Class 3 felony). Illinois State Police Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service were contacted for further investigation.

      All three suspects refused to cooperate and were subsequently turned over to the custody of the Sangamon County Jail without bond. A court date is pending.