A Maryland man admitted carrying out a scheme in which he offered rides to people who had been drinking in D.C. and then stole their bank cards.
Nyerere Mitchell, 50, of Clinton, targeted more than 60 people, mostly young adults, in a span of almost four years, stealing more than $200,000, officials said.
Often dressed as a woman, Mitchell would typically offer rides to people who were drunk in Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Foggy Bottom and other busy neighborhoods in D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, prosecutors said. Many victims believed he was a taxi driver.
Mitchell would talk passengers into letting him withdraw cash using their ATM cards and pin numbers. He often withdrew hundreds of dollars from the ATMs instead of what his “customers” thought would be fees between $10 and $40 to cover the rides.
He would then switch the victim’s ATM card with another one that he had previously stolen. Mitchell also used the stolen cards to purchase money orders -- many of which he deposited into his credit union account -- and to make large purchases at retail stores.
Officers arrested Mitchell in November after finding 205 stolen credit cards inside a shoe box at his home. They also found a wig that Mitchell had been seen wearing in bank surveillance.
Mitchell pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of D.C. to five counts of first-degree felony fraud. He faces 10 years in prison for each charge and financial penalties.
The plea agreement calls for him to pay $228,036 in restitution. Mitchell's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10.