INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty after federal agents listened in on his jailhouse phone calls to gather evidence in a citywide credit card racket.
Indiana State Police arrested Devon Keith Robinson, along with his wife and five other people, June 28, 2012, along Washington Street near Interstate 465 on the west side.
The group was found with approximately 200 fraudulent gift cards, which had been altered by re-encoding the magnetic stripes, police said Changing the magnetic stripe allows valid account numbers to be programmed into any card, which allows thieves to draw from legitimate accounts.
The Call 6 Investigators reported in January that U.S. Secret Service agents had gathered evidence in the case by listening in on Robinson's phone calls that were placed from the Marion County Jail after his arrest.
Agents wrote in a search warrant that Robinson was recorded in one call to his mother, revealing an email account that agents then searched for additional evidence. Agents obtained a court order to gain records about his past emails on that free account.
In their search warrant, agents wrote that credit card scammers typically receive valid credit card account numbers from criminals that could be anywhere in the world. Those numbers are frequently sold and sent to people exclusively through email, agents wrote.
Robinson pleaded guilty last week to federal charges of producing and trafficking in counterfeit access devices. He could face a federal prison term when he is sentenced on April 19.
Marion County Sheriff's Department leaders said that all inmates are informed that their calls are subject to monitoring. Large signs are posted near the phones through the jail, and all inmates are given a handbook that spells out how all calls are monitored.
The emails uncovered by Secret Service through the recorded calls could yield evidence against the other six people jailed in the fraud ring.
Three of the others have agreed to plead guilty to their part in the scheme, but Robinson's wife, Kenya Robinson, remains in jail awaiting trial.
Jailhouse phone calls are recorded and burned onto a disk when requested by investigating officers for various cases, according to court records and sheriff's officials. Each inmate is required to punch in a specific unique code in order to access an outside phone line, which then allows the recorded calls to be tied to that inmate.
"It's an investigative technique that we use, and I really shouldn't talk about it," Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis Secret Service Roger Goode said.