Jacksonville, Florida – Eugene Stephan Cole (31, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to possession of credit card manufacturing equipment. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison and payment of restitution to victims that he defrauded. Cole also agreed to forfeit to the United States various equipment and computer media he had used to produce counterfeit debit and credit cards.
According to court documents, on March 4, 2020, in Columbia County, a trooper from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) conducted a traffic stop of a BMW driven by Cole for various traffic infractions. When the trooper approached the car, Cole was unable to produce a driver license and the trooper smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the car. During a subsequent probable cause search of the BMW, the trooper located marijuana, a counterfeit North Carolina driver license, a magnetic card encoder/re-encoder, a card embosser, various computer media, and 18 blank plastic cards—all of which had a magnetic stripe capable of being encoded with credit or debit card account information, and several credit and debit cards. Three of the cards were in Cole’s name, while the other cards bore the names of various other individuals. During a pat down, the trooper located, in Cole’s pocket, a TD Bank Visa debit card with the name “Austin Hudson” embossed on it.
Further investigation by the United States Secret Service and the FHP determined that all of the cards bearing Cole’s name and the TD Bank Visa debit card, embossed with the name “Austin Hudson,” were counterfeit. The other cards were determined to be genuine, with fraudulent purchases made in Tennessee.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service (Jacksonville Field Office) and the Florida Highway Patrol. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.