CORUNNA — A Flint man was sentenced Friday to six months in prison and probation by Judge Matthew Stewart of the 35th Circuit Court for using fraudulent credit cards to buy tires from two local car dealerships.
Earnest Tucker, 31, was also ordered to pay court costs and fines, restitution to Slingerland and Randy Wise Ford totaling $1,527.04, and was credited with one day served. . Tucker will be placed on probation for one year, the first six months of which will be served in the Shiawassee County Jail.
Tucker was charged in July 2020 following an investigation by the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office which revealed that he obtained credit card information from an unknown victim on the “dark web”, then used the fraudulent information to buy two sets of tires.
“I think somewhere in the world someone got a credit card statement and was charged for tires,” Stewart said before sentencing. “What does it do to this person?” You hear about it all the time. Not only are you stealing from people you’ve never met, but it could be somewhere on the other side of the world. It’s pretty disrespectful to steal from people you’ve never met. You don’t care what it does to them. What if they need that credit card to feed their family or get gas to get to work and they can’t because their card is declined. Have you thought about that?
Tucker apologized for the thefts and said he would pay the full restitution amount on Friday morning.
“I’ve worked hard to be a productive citizen, doing everything I can,” Tucker said. “I learned my lesson.”
Defense attorney Matt McKone said Tucker was a talented welder and was currently looking for a first job in that field. He asked the court for a sentence accompanied by probation.
Shiawassee County District Attorney Scott Koerner also said he would support a sentence of probation, but he believes Tucker should be incarcerated.
“It wasn’t a one-time thing,” Koerner said. “I believe he tried to go back to Randy Wise Ford and they found out the original purchase was fraudulent.”
Tucker was initially charged with counts of conducting a criminal enterprise and possession of a fraudulent financial transaction device.
Court records indicate that Tucker was arraigned before 66th District Court Judge Ward Clarkson on October 28, 2020; he pleaded not guilty, posted $15,000 cash bond, and was released the same day.
He pleaded guilty on October 14, 2021 and, in exchange for his plea, the criminal enterprise charge was dismissed.