Dixie State University Police Car, St. George, Utah December 7, 2018 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – A man accused of purchasing several thousand dollars worth of merchandise using allegedly stolen credit cards from one of St. George’s off-campus dormitories pleaded guilty within a week of his arrest, culminating in ‘a survey of several months.
18-year-old Nijerious Jahmad Keshef Mills appeared in 5th District Court for a review hearing on Wednesday. Mills has been charged with three counts of third degree felony, including one count of deliberate use of a fake financial transaction card for goods and services and two counts of illegal acquisition of ‘a financial card.
Mills has been held without bond since his arrest on December 8. He appeared in court at the Purgatory Correctional Facility by video.
Mills is accused of using several credit cards belonging to an individual who arrived in St. George during a visit to the area in October, and alleges that the cards were removed from his backpack while he was staying with a Dixie State University student in one of the student housing complexes. During his stay, the report says, the suspect billed more than $ 3,700 using the visitor’s credit cards.
The investigation began when the Dixie State University Police Department received a call in the afternoon of October 11, reporting that a fraud may have taken place at Campus View Suites.
The caller told officers they were staying at the student accommodation complex with one of the dorm occupants on a 3-day visit to the area, and went on to say shortly after arriving in St George on October 5, their credit cards had been used without their authorization.
During the visit, the victim said on October 8 that she woke up to a number of notifications on her cell phone informing her that her credit card had been added to an Apple account which was then used for invoice for goods.
According to the report, the appellant told authorities he discovered several fraudulent charges during a review of his accounts, including two purchases totaling $ 200 from a clothing retailer, as well as over $ 1,800 from Nike, $ 1,389 to Apple Pay and $ 377 to an athlete. merchandise retailer. In total, over $ 3,770 in merchandise was ordered using visitor credit cards and all orders were to be delivered.
The caller also told police that after receiving the notifications he said he remembered leaving his wallet and keys in a backpack next to his friend’s desk inside from the dorm, adding that when he went to check the backpack, he said he opened his wallet. only to find that his credit cards were in a different order than he left them in, and said he also noticed that his wallet was not properly closed.
The appellant said that was when he canceled the cards and called the police.
Officers obtained the names of all occupants living in the dormitory where the guest had stayed. They also contacted the housing manager in order to report any package that was scheduled for delivery.
Officers then discovered there was a second complex that may have been listed as a delivery address, so both buildings were monitored for package deliveries. Within days of the report, police learned that a tenant inquired about the delivery of a package from the same sporting goods store the suspect used to order items using the stolen credit card.
The suspect was identified as Mills, who allegedly told the housing manager that he accidentally used the wrong building number for the Campus View Suites when he placed the order online, which is why he didn’t not delivered to the building he lived in, which the report states led officers to believe the suspect was trying to separate from the fraudulent purchase.
The suspect also told the official that he was expecting two more packages from Nike to be delivered on October 14.
Later that day, officers were told that a package had been delivered to a woman at another dorm complex who appeared to be Mills’ girlfriend.
Officers also checked with Nike and learned that two deliveries were due to take place, which corroborated the suspect’s statement to the manager that he expected two more deliveries from Nike.
Based on information suggesting Mills had “brief access to the card while the victim was staying in his apartment,” as well as accusations that emerged shortly after the cardholder’s visit and accusations emerged shortly thereafter, officers had sufficient probable cause to intercept the remaining packages that needed to be delivered. They also obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s apartment.
On the day of the search, officers learned that a package had been delivered to the compound where the suspect’s girlfriend was staying shortly before their arrival. Officers recovered the package which contained extra-large size men’s clothing, which Mills complied with. Officers described Mills as a 6-foot-4 man weighing 300 pounds. The shipping information also included a phone number and email address that matched Mills as well.
On October 14, officers were again informed that a package had been delivered to the suspect’s living unit by Nike, including the suspect’s delivery address, name and cell phone number.
When the suspect arrived at the housing office to collect the package, he was questioned by the police.
Mills reportedly told officers he was aware of the incident involving the fraudulent use of the cards, saying he heard about it from another person living in the unit.
The officer noted that Mills said that “someone who stayed in his apartment said someone used their cards to purchase items.”
Mills went on to say that when the visitor left his wallet, laptop and keys in the apartment, Mills said he thought “who’s doing this”, calling him a “red flag there – because you can’t trust anyone with your stuff.
He also said he was with his girlfriend and they both claimed they hadn’t seen him, and later when the roommate brought up the incident Mills said the roommate left the room a few days later.
The suspect also reviewed the deliveries made between the two complexes and, although the orders using the stolen cards corresponded to the items he had ordered that had already been delivered, he told police that his roommate had to shopping, then getting the items. was sent to him.
Officers were able to confirm through a review of the records that all items shipped matched those allegedly ordered by the suspect, including shipping dates, amounts and item descriptions, leading officers to believe it was Mills who used the financial cards without authorization. of the visitor. On December 8, officers arrested the suspect who was incarcerated in Washington County.
At Wednesday’s hearing before District Judge G. Michael Westfall, the accused pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly using a fake financial transaction card for goods and to one count. charge of illegal acquisition of a financial card, while the second charge of illegal acquisition will be dismissed. under the terms of the plea agreement.
Washington County District Attorney Ryan Shaum told St. George News that the deal is contingent on Mills placing $ 3,770 in a trust account held by his attorney, money that would serve as restitution to the victim in the case. There were other requirements as well, he said, which will be defined in more detail at the sentencing hearing scheduled for Jan. 22.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the posting of arrest reservation photos until a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, the police or other stakeholders and may not contain all of the findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court or as otherwise decided by a trier of fact.
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