A New York man is charged with human trafficking and other crimes after being stopped at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport on June 23.
Prosecutors say Alfredo Davis, 37, forced a woman to take part in a bank fraud scheme across the U.S.
Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies were called to the airport on June 23 to help officials with the Transportation Security Administration.
At the airport, TSA officers were trying to verify the identity of a woman who was trying to get into a concourse but did not have any valid identification. Inside the woman’s luggage, a criminal complaint states, TSA found several ID cards that had the woman’s picture – but different names.
Another passenger, identified as Davis, was screened after the woman. Davis’ luggage contained a “black mass,” the complaint states, and was searched. It revealed more ID cards with the woman’s photograph but different names. In Davis’ carry-on bag, a deputy also found $70,000 cash, multiple state ID cards, passports, credit cards, debit cards and loose bank checks. “Multiple” names listed on the woman’s ID cards matched the different names on the credit and debit cards.
The complaint states the credit cards were run through the “Electronic Recovery and Access to Data” program as part of the investigation. It found the cards had no connection to any financial institution – an “indicator of fraud,” according to the complaint.
The woman told investigators that she and Davis were from New York, and he told her that she could “make some money by cashing checks for him.” She said Davis has brought her across the country as part of the “fraudulent scheme,” but was never paid and was forced to participate.
At times, the woman said according to the complaint, Davis physically abused her and threatened harm against her family if she reported him to law enforcement or ran away.
According to the complaint, the scheme involved collecting fake ID cards, credit or debit cards and bank checks in New York. Davis would then fly with the woman to another city, get a rental car and drop her off near a bank.
Using a Bluetooth device, Davis would instruct the woman to approach a bank teller with the fake items to withdraw money. If the withdrawal was successful, the woman was instructed to get a monthly statement and then withdraw an additional amount of money under $10,000 total based on the statement.
That process was repeated at “six to seven” banks per day, per the complaint. The woman said she and Davis had arrived in Milwaukee from Atlanta two days before being stopped by TSA, and had targeted several banks around Milwaukee County.
Davis made an initial court appearance on June 27, his bond set at $100,000. He is due back in court on July 7.