(The Center Square) – A man accused of entering the country illegally faces more than 300 felony charges related to a gift-card counterfeiting scheme in a small eastern Ohio county.
State Attorney General Dave Yost said Ming Xue, 32, of Hunan, Fujian, China, faces 308 counts of counterfeiting and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Xue is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court.
Authorities said Xue, believed to have entered the country in September in California, does not have the required documentation to be in the United States.
“This man was clearly on a nefarious mission to rip off as many Ohio consumers as possible,” Yost said. “Hats off to the deputies who followed their instincts and got him off the streets before he could inflict more harm.”
According to the indictment, Coshocton County deputies saw Xue hiding unloaded gift cards on his body at Walmart in Coshocton while they were at the store for the annual Shop with a Cop program for needy children Dec. 5.
According to court documents, the deputies later found hundreds of gift cards in Xue’s vehicle.
Xue is accused of scheming with others in which they stole unloaded gift cards, altered them, and put them back into display racks. When people bought the altered gift cards, the group would steal the cash placed on the cards.
“While I will not speak to the facts of a pending case, I will indicate that this is one of the largest indictments in Coshocton County history,” Coshocton County District Attorney Ben Hall said. “I’d like to thank the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for their assistance in this matter.”