Tom Flattery, Deputy District Attorney
High Tech Unit, Economic Crimes Group
12 PEOPLE CHARGED WITH LAUNDERING STOLEN CREDIT CARDS THROUGH JAIL INMATE COMMISSARY ACCOUNTS
On November 30, 2011, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office charged 26-year-old Darin Volk of Turlock and eleven others in a 36-count complaint alleging Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft, Conspiracy to Possess a Cell Phone in Jail and Identity Theft. At the time of the offenses, Volk and seven of his co-defendants were inmates at the Santa Clara County Jail. The complaint identifies 34 victims with potential losses exceeding $17,000.
It is alleged that Volk enlisted the help of other Elmwood inmates and directed out-of-custody co-conspirator, Brian Hoar of Turlock, to deposit money into inmate commissary trust accounts and inmate telephone accounts using stolen credit card numbers. Volk would then direct out-of-custody co-conspirators, Heather Murphree of Turlock, Shanna Conroy of San Jose, and Jaimelynn Sakoda of San Jose, to withdraw a portion of the money from the inmate commissary accounts. The inmates authorized the withdrawals and were left with a share of the fraudulent deposits as payment. Jail personnel followed standard procedure and issued Santa Clara County checks to the three women without knowing that the accounts had been funded by fraud.
It is also alleged that for a short time, Volk and other inmates had the use of a contraband cell phone inside the Elmwood facility. From April 24, 2011 to May 3, 2011, that phone was used to make 1375 unauthorized calls from jail, including 367 calls placed to on-line retailers, banks and shipping businesses. It is alleged that Volk arranged fraudulent commissary trust account deposits as payment for access to the contraband cell phone.
At the time of these offenses, Volk was pending prosecution on a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional, counterfeit credit card manufacturing scheme. Volk is set for arraignment on this new case on December 7, 2011 at 1:30. He faces a maximum of 25 additional years of local incarceration in this new case.
The case was investigated by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Crowley assigned to the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) with the cooperation and assistance of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Corrections Division. REACT is directed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and is one of five High Technology and Identity Theft task forces in the State of California.