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Jersey men charged in gift-card fraud

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Three New Jersey residents were arrested early Saturday after purchasing numerous cartons of cigarettes with phony gift cards, police said.

Stafford County Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said an investigation began about 5:40 a.m. after a clerk at the 7–Eleven at 201 Garrisonville Road refused to accept the gift cards as payment for the cigarettes. Kennedy said the clerk became suspicious after the would-be purchaser presented a Florida identification but was in a vehicle with New Jersey tags.

The clerk notified the Sheriff’s Office, and Sgt. Dan Purcell went straight to another 7–Eleven, this one at 2899 Jefferson Davis Highway.

As he approached the store, Purcell noticed a vehicle with New Jersey tags parked away from the store.

Inside the store, Purcell found a man who matched the description given at the earlier call trying to buy four cartons of cigarettes with gift cards.

Another person had already purchased four cartons using the same type of gift cards, which turned out to be phony.

Detectives Ed McCullough and Barry Surles came to the scene and were talking to one suspect when a woman walked up and asked what was going on. The woman claimed to be related to the suspect, Kennedy said, but the investigation revealed that she had also purchased cigarettes with fake gift cards.

Numerous cartons were found in the back seat of the suspects’ vehicle, Kennedy said. Police believe the group planned to sell the cigarettes in other states.

Xavier Mussenden, 18, and Xochilt Williams, 37, both of Willingboro, N.J., and Frederick Bryant, 39, of Burlington Township, N.J., were all charged with racketeering, conspiracy and credit card fraud. They were all placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail and were still being held under no bond Tuesday.

Kennedy said the investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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