OCEAN CITY – A Washington, D.C. metro area man, one of two charged last January after allegedly attempting to use multiple phony credit cards at a north-end sub shop, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 10 years, all but two years and six months of which was suspended.
Around 4:20 p.m. last Jan. 15, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a sandwich shop at 132nd Street for a suspected fraud. Ocean City Communications informed the officer the four suspects, including two males and two females were still sitting outside the restaurant on a bench.
The officer arrived and spoke to the manager, who informed police the four suspects had ordered over $54 in food. One of the suspects, later identified as Mohammed Saidynaly, 21, of Silver Spring, Md., went next door to a bar, while another suspect, identified as Sophian Seidnaly, 26, of Rockville, Md., attempted to pay for the food with a credit card, according to police reports.
The manager told police the card Seidnaly presented had no major credit card carrier’s name on it, such as Visa and Mastercard, and the manager asked Seidnaly how to run it. According to police reports, Seidnaly told the manager it was a gift card and he did not know. The manager tried it two different ways and the card declined each time.
Seidnaly produced another card and it declined. Saidynaly returned and told the manager he was going to get a different card from their vehicle to pay for the food and returned with yet another card. After several attempts with the third card, the clerk was prompted to enter it manually.
However, when the clerk attempted to enter the card’s numbers manually, Saidynaly spoke up quickly and insisted the card information not be entered in that way. Finally, Saidynaly produced yet another card with no other information on it except the name Emmanuel. The clerk questioned why none of the other cards presented thus far included that name, Saidynaly told her it was a family name and insisted the card be run, according to police reports.
That card worked and Saidynaly signed the receipt and the group left with the food, but did not immediately leave. Suspecting some kind of credit card fraud, the store manager called the police and the OCPD officer arrived on scene a short time later.
Meanwhile, the OCPD officer spoke to a bartender at the neighboring business who reported a similar experience with Saidynaly. The bartender told police Saidynaly entered the bar and attempted to make a purchase, producing a credit card that declined when the chip feature did not work. The bartender told police she attempted to put the card numbers in manually, but Saidynaly insisted she use the magnetic stripe before cancelling the purchase and leaving, according to police reports.
The OCPD officer interviewed Saidynaly and Seidnaly outside the sandwich shop and asked them to produce the cards with which they attempted to purchase the food. Each produced a couple of cards, none of which matched the numbers on the declined receipts from the attempted food purchase.
Suspicious of the multiple cards and the multiple attempts to use them, the OCPD officer searched Saidynaly and Seidnaly and the vehicle. According to police reports, Saidynaly was in possession of as many as eight different credit cards with different numbers and names, while Seidnaly was in possession of 15.
One of the cards Saidynaly possessed had the name “Emmanuel” on it. When the officer asked the suspect why no other cards in their possession had the name Emmanuel on them, Saidynaly told police a man named Emmanuel owed him money and put the money owed on a pre-paid credit card in his name.
The officer believed the two suspects were involved in a credit card fraud and theft scheme. Most of the cards found in their possession had the chip feature mutilated. The officer knew the magnetic strip on credit cards could be reprogrammed with information from a different account, but the chip feature could not be tampered with.
A further search of the vehicle revealed a device the officer knew to be an electronic scanner used to scan magnetic strip data from one card and reprogram it onto a different card. Each suspect was arrested and charged with theft and credit card fraud.
Last week, Saidynaly pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeit credit card and was sentenced to 10 years, all but two years and six months of which was suspended. He was also ordered to pay $600 in restitution and was placed on supervised probation for three years. Seidnaly is scheduled to appear for a jury trial on Dec. 1.