KINGSLAND, Ga. – What began as a routine traffic stop for speeding along an interstate turned into a fraud investigation involving two people from Tampa, Florida, according to the Kingsland Police Department.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by News4Jax, a Kingsland police officer stumbled upon a financial fraud scheme when he pulled two people over in a car that had $7,000 in cash inside, several Visa credit cards, bank cards and financial documents that belonged to several people in Arizona.
The two suspects were identified as David and Markesha Blakely, of Tampa, Florida, who are brother and sister, according to police.
According to the arresting officer, the suspects were pulled over for traveling at a speed of 91 mph in a 60 mph zone.
David Blakley was placed in handcuffs after the officer walked up to the car and immediately smelled marijuana and saw a bag of marijuana in plain view, according to the affidavit. When the officer searched the car, he first located 15 grams of marijuana and a large stack of cash totaling $7,000, the affidavit said. According to the officer, the cash appeared to have just been dispensed from an ATM because of the way the denomination were stacked and also because none of the bills had any folds.
When the officer searched the trunk, he found several shoe boxes. According to the affidavit, one of the boxes contained several Visa cards from Arizona that belonged to several people with the same last name, two U.S. Bank cards belonging to two of the same victims from Arizona and financial documents from Wells Fargo and Bank of America that also belonged to victims who had the same last name.
After the brother and sister were read their rights, David Blakely admitted to the officer that he was unemployed and uses a list of names, date of births and Social Security numbers to file fraudulent unemployment benefits and that he has also used the cards, according to the affidavit. He told the officer his sister had nothing to do with his actions, according to the affidavit. The affidavit stated the officer suspected his sister was in on it, so when investigators searched her cellphone, they found text images to her brother that showed screenshots of an unemployment questionnaire that asked, “What does she need to put for this question?” Investigators said they also found another text to her brother that asked, “I know you’ve done others, but have you tried Nevada also?”
According to the officer, the brother and sister were headed to the Carolinas and begged the officer to turn a blind eye and let them go. But both were arrested.
David Blakely was charged with 14 counts of ID and financial fraud, which are felonies, and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Markesha Blakely was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. According to the affidavit, she is a Hillsborough County employee.
As of Monday afternoon, both were still locked up inside the Camden County jail.