GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Court documents reveal a West Michigan man was robbed of $60,000 while his wife was dying in a Grand Rapids hospital last year.
The suspect is a familiar face to investigators: they say he was part of the ring that stole credit cards from McDonald’s locations around Grand Rapids.
Quanta Barnes, 20, of Kentwood, is currently in the Kent County Jail awaiting a Wednesday hearing in Wyoming District Court. The new larceny charges filed Sept. 19 are among a slew of financial fraud cases.
Investigators traced the stolen $60,000 to FanDuel, a popular sports gambling website. A search warrant found not only Barnes’ name in the account but also the names of two victims he reportedly posed as. One of them was the woman dying in the hospital, a Michigan State Police detective said.
“You can’t just be doing this and ruin people’s lives,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told News 8 Tuesday. “When you gotta go through your credit cards, cancel them and get new ones, what that does to a person’s credit is not a level of fun.”
Barnes was later arrested in February for a different case. He was accused of being one of four former McDonald’s workers stealing customers’ credit card information from November 2022 to January 2023. Investigators found about 100 photos and videos of credit cards.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said the four involved in the ring used the stolen credit cards to rack up more than $50,000 worth of fraudulent purchases in stores and online.
“Be it McDonald’s, be it other places, credit cards are a target right now because it’s so easy to go out and use those credit cards to purchase other gift cards,” Becker said. “That makes it harder to trace for law enforcement. That seems to be the trend right now.”
Barnes was eventually released on bond on the condition he could not leave the state. But in September, the sheriff’s office said Barnes did just that, using another stolen credit card to buy plane tickets to and from Philadelphia. Deputies said surveillance cameras and electronic records captured him at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Barnes was arrested after he returned to Grand Rapids. He also has multiple felony cases pending in different courts.
Michigan State Police told News 8 that the widower is still out nearly $40,000 after only receiving some relief. It’s unclear how Barnes allegedly accessed the widower’s bank account information, whether at McDonald’s or through another means.
“People get them before you even know it’s gone,” Becker said. “Then all of a sudden, they’ve charged enough because they’re going from the stealing to the store. That’s the scary thing, you don’t even know until all of a sudden there’s a bunch on your credit card that shouldn’t be there.”
Becker said cases like these are becoming all too common and juveniles are often culprits.
“We’ve seen it at McDonald’s, we’ve seen it at gyms, we’ve seen it at other public establishments,” Becker said.
The prosecutor explained that the punishment for financial crimes is generally low, often resulting in probation or community service in smaller cases.
That’s why Becker is charging some, like Barnes in the McDonald’s fraud case, with felony continuing criminal enterprise. That can result in up to 20 years in prison, which Becker hopes will deter others from committing the crime.
“We get more possibility of severe sanctions,” Becker explained. “Continuing criminal enterprise is because you’re involved in a larger group and a bigger thing of behavior. You’re looking at jail and prison time.”
“We’re trying to do that to make sure (people) get the message and (we) lock some of these people up,” Becker continued. “They are committing some substantial financial crimes we’re trying to get a hold of and make sure it’s not acceptable to do that.”
Becker said people can take basic steps to provide some level of protection.
“Hard not to turn over your credit card at McDonald’s,” he said. “But there’s ways to keep your cars locked. People take them out of the cars. They just take them and go spend them right way.”
“The simple thing is to lock your stuff up,” he continued. “Usually these crimes are crimes of opportunity. We see people leaving their lockers open at the gym and people going in to grab their wallet.”