2 plead guilty to Walmart gift card schemes across Georgia, U.S.

Two men from the northeast pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes using Walmart gift cards...
Two men from the northeast pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes using Walmart gift cards that affected hundreds of people.(KY3)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:56 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Two men from the northeast pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes using Walmart gift cards that affected hundreds of people, the Department of Justice (DOJ) says.

Yao Lin, 51, of Ruther Glen, Virginia, and Wen Xue Lin, 39, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Thursday and face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $1 million fine.

According to the DOJ, court documents showed that Yao Lin and Wen Lin, working separately from each other, traveled to Walmart stores around the South to purchase various gift cards using electronic gift cards on their phones which were obtained by unnamed individuals through multiple scams inflicted on victims across the country. Yao Lin told federal agents that he received gift cards from multiple sources in China.

Yao Lin was arrested in Valdosta in 2021 after making fraudulent transactions at Walmart stores, including Macon, Warner Robins, Tifton, Adel and south into Valdosta. A search of Yao Lin’s vehicle recovered 128 Google Play, Steam and Apple gift cards, valued at around $9,300.

Wen Lin was arrested in 2019 at a Walmart store in Hazlehurst, after making illegal purchases at Walmart stores, including Tifton, Winder, Athens, Madison, Forsyth, Macon, Warner Robins, Perry, Cordele, Americus and Albany, the DOJ says.

A search of Wen Lin’s vehicle recovered 1,298 Walmart Vanilla Mastercard and American Express gift cards with a face value totaling $229,100.

The case was investigated by the United State Secret Service, the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Walmart Global Investigations.