Twenty-One Defendants Charged In Multimillion Dollar International Counterfeit Credit And Debit Card Fraud Scheme
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Twenty-one individuals were charged in an indictment for their alleged roles and participation in an international multimillion dollar scheme to steal credit and debit card account information, manufacture counterfeit credit and debit cards, identity theft, and money laundering. The charges are the result of a ten-month investigation by local, state, and federal law enforcement and the Department of State.
United States Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada; Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division; and Special Agent in Charge Michael Bishop of the Diplomatic Security Service’s Los Angeles Field Office.
“The sophisticated multimillion dollar fraud scheme occurred in Las Vegas, multiple other states, and crossed international borders,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “These charges are another successful example of our commitment to working together with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in the pursuit and prosecution of perpetrators who commit credit card fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.”
“These indictments demonstrate the unified commitment of law enforcement to stop those who target our community through the theft of our personal and financial data. Those who commit such acts should take notice that you will be caught,” said SAC Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division.
“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Department of Justice and our local law enforcement partners in Nevada to investigate and prosecute all allegations of criminal activity related to passport and visa fraud,” said SAC Bishop of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service Los Angeles Field Office. “The strong relationship we enjoy with our federal and local law enforcement partners is vital towards ensuring the integrity of U.S. travel documents and protecting greater U.S. interests.”
According to the allegations in the 47-count indictment, from at least Jan. 1, 2013, to about Dec. 9, 2016, the defendants conspired to commit credit and debit card fraud by using “skimmers” placed on automatic teller machines (ATM), cash-out transaction ticket dispensing terminals, such as Global Cash Advance (GCA), and other means to obtain stolen account information. They set-up credit card forgery “laboratories” in residences and hotel rooms to manufacture counterfeit credit and debit cards. Equipment in the laboratories included counterfeit card production systems, thermal dye printers, foil tipping machines, card embossers, and card scanners and encoders.
It is further alleged that the defendants possessed and used the counterfeit credit and debit cards at hotel-casinos, high-end luxury watch, jewelry, and fashion boutiques, electronic retailers, and ATMs throughout Las Vegas, Nevada and in other cities and counties around the country, including: Del Mar, California, Detroit, Michigan, New Orleans, Louisiana, Nassau County, New York, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Atlantic City, New Jersey. They obtained GCA cash advances at casinos, and purchased expensive merchandise, including Rolex watches, ladies’ purses and handbags, and clothing. The purchases would be resold on the black market or online marketplaces. The approximate total loss is over $3.5 million in fraudulent retail purchases and cash advances and withdrawals at hotel-casino properties and other businesses.
In addition, the defendants allegedly possessed and used personal identification of other individuals. The defendants allegedly conspired to commit money laundering and made deposits into bank accounts with money obtained through the fraudulent credit and debit card scheme.
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with access devices; producing, using or trafficking in a counterfeit access device; using or trafficking in an unauthorized access device; possession of 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices; possession of access device-making equipment; aggravated identity theft; possession of counterfeit Visa, permit or other document; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and money laundering. The indictment charges the following 21 defendants:
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. In addition, they face fines in the amount of $250,000.
These charges are the result of cooperative, investigative efforts by the FBI, Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and Henderson Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Burns.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.