‘Tampa Gift Card King’ gets prison time for money laundering


Two weeks after being sentenced to federal prison for a lucrative fraud, “Tampa Gift Card King” Stephen McIntyre was allowed to travel from Florida to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with his fiancee — a convicted co-conspirator in the scheme.

Court documents say Stephen McIntyre, 51, should be returning to his home Monday from spending Thanksgiving Weekend with Brandy Fuller and her family while the COVID-19 pandemic kept many Americans from their usual family gatherings. The CDC recommended against traveling for Thanksgiving.

McIntyre’s scheduled to start his five-year, three-month sentence for conspiracy to commit money laundering in February. Fuller’s started her three-year probation for her role.

McIntyre’s Motion to Permit Travel, filed Monday, said, “This event is scheduled as a Thanksgiving celebration for the family. The parents of Miss Fuller are elderly and in poor health, and the family is attempting to celebrate what may be the final family holiday function where they all can be present together.”

The motion argued McIntyre wasn’t a flight risk, had been compliant with PreTrial Services since posting $250,000 bond in April 2019 and hadn’t been arrested or missed any court appearances.

Tampa federal court Judge Mary Scriven granted the motion on Tuesday.

“Gift Card King” scheme

Gift card wheeling, dealing but also stealing earned McIntyre $10 million in gross revenue, of which between $550,000 and $1.5 million could be counted as fraudulent revenue, his guilty plea admitted.

McIntyre paid cash for merchandise cards or gift cards with money left on them, the sale price being a percentage of what was left on the card. Then, they’d sell the cards online or conduct “other illcit transactions involving the cards.”

The Tampa Gift Card King Facebook page advertises, “Need Cash??? I purchase gift cards and store credits. Over 2000 brands accepted. No cards accepted that have been obtained by fraudulent or illegal means.”

That statement splits from the truth on the last sentence. McIntyre’s guilty plea admits he and his cronies knew some of the cards came his way from fraud or theft “coached some individual customers what to attest on the required form(s) so that their sales could be accomplished.”

McIntyre flouted Florida law by not registering as a secondhand dealer, which he couldn’t do because he’s had a felony theft conviction on his record; not waiting 15 days between buying a secondhand good and reselling it; not reporting secondhand good buys in the Business Watch International database.

When selling online via Raise.com or CardCash.com, McIntyre and his gang would keep the cards and just send the card number and PIN number.

“Later, they used the card numbers and PINs of these previously sold cards in order to identify residual balances on said cards,” the guilty plea says, “and then they embezzled the residual balances, aggregated the balances, and used the proceeds to purchase new gift cards.”

In doing this, they compiled from $550,000 to $1.5 million. McIntyre used $70,579 to buy a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on Eskimo Avenue in Tampa and $55,000 for another three/two house on De Soto Street in Tampa. He also bought a 2014 Cadillac Escalade.

The forfeiture part of McIntyre’s guilty plea requires he give up $40,000 in lieu of giving up De Soto Street house; the $152,321 he got from selling the Eskimo Avenue house; the Escalade; $285,936 cash in his bank accounts and possession; a $250,000 cash bond; “precious metals” seized from the Eskimo Avenue home; and sports memorabilia, including books, jerseys and sports equipment.

But McIntyre gets to keep the sports trading cards.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

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