KPTV file photo.KPTV file photo.


Nine people face criminal charges after authorities say they worked together to steal more than one million dollars from financial institutions, and used the money to open a marijuana business in Corvallis, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office District of Oregon.

The defendants, who live in and around Corvallis, face conspiracy charges related to a credit card “bust-out” scheme, the attorney’s office said.

A “bust-out” scheme occurs when a person obtains a credit card and accumulates large balances. Payments are made from a co-conspirator’s bank account, which reduces the credit card balance and allows for additional purchases, according to the attorney’s office.

After a number of purchases and payments are made, a co-conspirator reports the payments as unauthorized to their bank. Their bank seeks and obtains reimbursement from the credit card company and puts the funds back into the co-conspirators bank account.

No further payments are made on the credit cards, resulting in losses to the credit card companies that often exceed a card’s spending limit, the attorney’s office said.

Three defendants were arrested in connection to the crime Tuesday.

The attorney’s office said the fraud resulted in a more than one-million-dollar loss to multiple financial institutions. Proceeds from the fraud were allegedly used to establish and operate illegal marijuana grows and fund a state-licensed marijuana retail business.

Some of the marijuana grown was sold at the Corvallis Cannabis Club and some of it was transported and sold outside of Oregon, according to authorities.

The three people arrested Tuesday will make their first court appearance in Eugene June 13.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from Oregon State Patrol and the Corvallis and Philomath Police Departments. 

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