By Rachel Dove
GILBERT - A criminal investigation that began in March has resulted in the arrest of two Gilbert residents on a combined total of 110 criminal charges that spanned a period of nine months.
According to the criminal complaints filed in Mingo County Magistrate Court by West Virginia State Police Trooper First Class J.K. Harris, Johnny Robert Ball, 37, and Kayla Francine Wolford, 25, both of Gilbert, were taken into custody on 50 counts each of fraudulent use of an access device (such as an ATM), 50 counts each of fraudulent use of a credit card and 1 count each of conspiracy and grand larceny. Ball also was charged with six counts of fraudulent schemes.
The complaint states that Delmas Jay May, owner of the A-1 Fence Company, contacted the state police after becoming aware of $27,513 in charges billed to a company credit card that he had not authorized.
The investigation revealed that Ball had allegedly obtained the credit card information fraudulently when he contacted an employee of the A-1 Fence Company and advised him that he was conducting auto mechanic work for May and needed the company credit card information to order parts for the vehicle.
Ball and Wolford, his girlfriend, then allegedly used the credit card information to conduct approximately 498 fraudulent transactions totaling nearly $30,000. With each fraudulent purchase, the funds were deducted directly from the A-1 Fencing checking account at the Bank of Mingo. Further investigation revealed that 384 of the illegal purchases allegedly were conducted via Johnny Ball’s PayPal account. All items purchased through the PayPal account and over the Internet were shipped to Ball’s residence.
However; it was also allegedly found that multiple purchases, including female clothing and shoes, home appliances, children’s toys, shoes and clothing were also purchased. Wolford is the parent of three small children.
While being questioned about the alleged theft, Ball is said to have admitted culpability in obtaining the credit card information and further admitted to the fraudulent charges. Wolford was also questioned, but initially denied any involvement, but the evidence clearly showed that many of the packages containing items that were purchased with the credit card were delivered to her address between the dates of June 2013 and March of this year, and she had, in fact, signed for a portion of them.
It was discovered that Ball allegedly would order ATV or vehicle parts on May’s credit card and would install them or use them to repair vehicles and ATVs he was working on. He then allegedly charged the owners for the parts ordered and labor. The defendant is said to have performed this particular fraudulent crime on at least six separate occasions.
The couple allegedly used the stolen card information to conduct multiple purchases of home appliances, clothing, furniture, to pay cell phone bills, vehicle insurance payments, and also made multiple purchases of an assortment of diet pills and penis-enlargement pills.
Ball was taken into custody by Harris on April 18, and was arraigned before Mingo County Magistrate Dee Sidebottom. He remains at the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden in lieu of $180,000 bond. Wolford was arrested Wednesday by Harris and was released from custody after posting surety cash and property to meet the amount of her $120,000 bond set by Sidebottom.