U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
February 24, 2012
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne Cooney, Director of Community Relations
Federal Jury Convicts Minneapolis Man for Conspiring to Commit Bank Fraud, Identity Theft
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, a jury found a 39-year-old Minneapolis man guilty for using stolen credit cards to obtain cash and make purchases. Milton Carlton Rucker, Jr., was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of being a felon in possession of a stolen FBI agent’s firearm, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Rucker was charged in a superseding indictment on October 17, 2011.
The evidence presented at trial proved that Rucker conspired to break into parked cars, steal credit cards and the personal identification of others, and then use that material to obtain money from financial institutions and merchandise from retailers. Specifically, on July 22, 2011, at approximately 4:40 p.m., Rucker broke into a vehicle owned by a FBI agent and stole a duffel bag, which contained the agent’s pistol and badge, along with his credentials, personal credit cards, a watch, as well as other items of value. Within the next hour, one of the stolen credit cards was used at a gas station and was attempted to be used at a local Target store.
Aided by video surveillance from both businesses, authorities were able to track down a Buick Century tied to the suspect. The car was found parked in the driveway of a Minneapolis residence. Officers arrested Rucker and Tania Marie Thompson, also known as Tania Marie Carson, both of whom were inside the residence. During the execution of a search warrant at the residence and in the Buick, police recovered the FBI agent’s watch as well as stolen credit cards, along with other items. They also located clothing that matched the clothing worn by the robbery suspect. Authorities later recovered the agent's credentials and gun.
In addition, on July 22, 2011, Rucker possessed a .40-caliber pistol. Because Rucker has been previously convicted of a felony, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. His prior Hennepin County convictions include theft from person (1991), aggravated robbery (1992), receiving stolen property (2008), and financial transaction card fraud (2008). He also was convicted in Ramsey County for first-degree sale of drugs (2000) and in the District of Minnesota for being a felon in possession of a firearm (1993). Since many of those felony convictions were for violent crimes, Rucker is subject to the federal armed career criminal statute in the current federal case. That statute mandates a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison upon conviction. Given that the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, offenders serve virtually their entire sentence behind bars.
On January 26, 2012, Rucker’s co-defendant, Tania Marie Thompson, age 35, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft. In her plea agreement, Thompson admitted that on July 22, 2011, she and Rucker broke into the FBI agent’s Ford Explorer and stole items of value as well as personal identification. Thompson also admitted that particular theft was part of a pattern of eight or more thefts involving parked vehicles at Lake Calhoun and area fitness centers.
For his crimes, Rucker faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for conspiracy; a potential maximum penalty of life for being a felon in possession, with a mandatory minimum of 15 years pursuant to the armed career criminal statute; along with a mandatory minimum penalty of two years for aggravated identity theft. For her crime, Thompson faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years for conspiracy and a mandatory minimum penalty of two years for aggravated identity theft. United States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz will determine their sentences at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI; the Brooklyn Park Police Department; the Bloomington Police Department; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Minneapolis Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys LeeAnn K. Bell and Laura M. Provinzino.