Faisal D. Elmi, 32, and Lisa D. Paige, 43, both of Alexandria, Va., and Mamadou A. Sall, 25, of Cheverly, Md., were arraigned on Monday before Judge Lewis M. Blanton at the federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau. All three pleaded not guilty to the three-count indictment handed down by a grand jury last month. They have been transferred from the Perry County Jail to the custody of the U.S. government.
Perry County prosecutor Tom Hoeh said he gladly dismissed the state charges in order to hand them over to federal officials.
"They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Hoeh said Wednesday.
The indictments allege the suspects defrauded a Battle Creek, Mich., man by using an altered credit card -- with his information -- to buy $240 in cigarettes at the Barnes Mart in Perryville, Mo.
By using the credit card, the indictment claims interstate commerce was affected because the cigarettes were made in a state other than Missouri. The defendants also were traveling in interstate commerce at the time of the purchase. All are violations of U.S. law.
The second count claims the three also had 15 other counterfeit and unauthorized credit cards on the account of the Michigan man, Michael W. Smith. Their possession of the cards, the indictment says, also affected interstate commerce, in that the businesses that owned the cards and account numbers were in other states. Their possession of a mini-card reader/writer that was used to make the cards that were made in other states.
The suspects were arrested in November by the Perryville Police Department, along with officials with the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The three are being held without bond that are authorized after periodic detention hearings.
A pretrial motion hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Feb. 8.
The government claimed the suspects should be detained because they present a serious flight risk, are a threat to the community and no conditions exist to ensure their appearance in court.
555 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO