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Worcester man charged with using other people's credit-card numbers to snap up $100,000 worth of MBTA commuter-rail passes for resale

A Worcester man was arrested this week on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for a scheme in which he'd allegedly buy commuter-rail passes to resell them at a discount over their face value.

Kokou Kuakumensah, 31, was indicted last October, but authorities only caught up with him on Wednesday, the US Attorney's office reports.

According to his indictment, Kuakumensah used cards programmed with other people's credit-card info to buy monthly passes meant for rides to and from Grafton on the Worcester Line at station vending machines between January, 2019 and March, 2020. He'd then advertise them each month at a discount, the indictment charges.

The four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft could net him 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if he's convicted, the US Attorney's office reports.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Why would anyone purchase a monthly pass when you can ride for free. No conductors were checking passes and fare enforcement can't be enforced.

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Voting closed 8

If I was gonna do credit card fraud.

Reselling MBTA Commuter Rail passes during a pandemic wouldn't be high on my list.

I'd be all about gift cards..

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Voting closed 14

to buy monthly passes meant for rides to and from Grafton on the Worcester Line at station vending machines between January, 2019 and March, 2020(emphasis added).

In other words, before the pandemic.

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Voting closed 9

Cigarettes and razors. Both are small, portable, relatively expensive and have appeal to wide portions of the population (though smokers are a dying breed).

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Voting closed 4

At least with the way the accused was alleged to be running this scheme. Cigarette machines are few and far between these days (by Federal law, they can only be in places where people under 21 are prohibited). I've never seen a razor vending machine.

The press release doesn't say how he was doing it, but "used cards programmed with other people's credit-card info" sounds like he wasn't using stolen physical cards, but rather magstripe cards programmed with stolen account info -- it's pretty easy to get a machine that will read and write cards, but a homemade card won't pass muster if you're buying from a human cashier.

So that's why he'd buy passes from a vending machine, especially since the T's vending machines are too old to require chip cards. I'm not sure why they're so specific about passes for Grafton since a Zone 8 pass is just a Zone 8 pass.

Not like he was running a huge operation, either. Zone 8 passes are pricey so just 20 of them a month over 15 months will be well over $100,000 in face value.

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Voting closed 5