Two Michigan men appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court on Wednesday, accused of running a credit card scam at Columbia County businesses.
Truquan Raheem, 17, of Royal Oak, Michigan, and Michael Parham Jr., 20, of Detroit, are each charged with one misdemeanor count of fraudulent use of a credit card and six felony counts of credit card forgery.
Lodi police were called to a suspicious situation at the Dollar General store, where they encountered Parham in a vehicle with a South Carolina license plate, who was taken into custody for questioning. In the store, the officers encountered Raheem attempting to make a purchase.
Raheem had attempted to buy four pre-paid cards from the store using a credit card that the store manager suspected to have been tampered with or possibly cloned. The magnetic strip on the card had been damaged and, according to the criminal complaint, Raheem asked the manager to enter the number manually, which was a red flag for a scam.
When officers searched Raheem, they reportedly found that he was carrying several credit cards that he admitted to be fakes, that he had made himself. Parham told officers that he had driven to Wisconsin on prior trips as well to do the same thing.
“He had admitted to the officers that he had been here a couple of times, to Wisconsin, to continue with his criminal enterprise as has been alleged,” said Assistant District Attorney Troy Cross, requesting a high cash bond, and telling the court he did not know where any local address could be found. “This was a sophisticated operation that was allegedly conducted by Mr. Raheem and his co-defendant. They had been successful in the past and they were caught this time.”
“He actually attends Portage High School and started there in junior year and is now in his senior year,” said defense attorney Tristan Eagon, assisting Raheem in filling in the court on his background, pointing to an address on Oneida Street in Portage rather than outside Detroit.
“While there is a local Portage address given, it appears that Mr. Raheem has ties to the state of Michigan also,” said Judge James Miller, who ordered Raheem to be held in lieu of $2,000 cash bond. Parham, who appeared for a bond hearing the same day, was ordered to be held on the same cash bond.
Both Parham and Raheem are scheduled to next appear in court for preliminary hearings on Dec. 21.