Chiraq rapper Bandman Kevo and five associates were named in a federal complaint alleging they participated in a “crackin cards” scheme that stretched from Illinois to Indiana, the NWI Times reports.
The 26-year-old rapper, born Kevin Ford, and co-defendants are reportedly accused of generating about $639,746 in the bank fraud scheme.
Others named in the affidavit include Cortez Stevens, 24; Stephen Garner, 23; Mercedes Hatcher, 21; Brittany Sims, 24 and Mikcale Smally, 21, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Cracking cards reportedly involves scammers placing stolen or counterfeit checks in bank accounts belonging to other people. Scammers then borrow the cardholder’s debit card and PIN number to withdraw money from the account before the bank learns the check is fake.
Federal officials say the group would reel in cash-strapped people through social media, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“$$$$xmas in 4 more days inbox me if you tryin to make sum fast money $$$$$,” Smally wrote in one Facebook post, according to the Tribune.
Kevo’s scheme afforded him a $4,000-a-month high-rise condo in the Loop, according to the Tribune. He was arrested after officials issued a no-knock arrest because he threatened to kill law enforcement in a Facebook post. He was ordered held without out bond Tuesday.
Kevo was burgeoning Hip Hop artist collaborating with some of the genre’s hottest artists that included King Louie, Chief Keef and Soulja Boy.
Hip Hop is linked to popularizing “cracking cards.” One of the artists in the genre accused of promoting the illegal act is none other Chief Keef.
Chief Keef glorifies the illegal scheme in song “Ballin,” rapping, “I’m ballin, I’m ballin/I be countin them stack/Crackin cards, get back, I gets me a big check.”
Federal authorities say cracking cards have roots on the South Side of Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
“The origin of [cracking cards] was Chicago, but now there is activity in Seattle, New York and other cities,” assistant postal inspector Victor Demtshenko told the Sun Times.
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