Gregory A. White, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that a federal grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, returned an indictment today charging Matthew S. Kichinka, age 25, of 9839 Huntington Park Drive, Strongsville, Ohio, with fifty counts of wire fraud, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, two counts of Bankruptcy Fraud, and one count of transmitting interstate communications containing threats to kill or injure another person.
The indictment charges that between July 2004 and April 2007, Kichinka devised a scheme and artifice to defraud Ameritrade and E*Trade, and to obtain money, funds, credits, assets and other property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and in furtherance of said scheme, knowingly transmitted, caused to be transmitted and attempted to transmit approximately 50 interstate Electronic Funds Transfers from various banks to Ameritrade and E*Trade totaling approximately $3,348,000.00.
The indictment charges that between July 2004 and April 2007, Kichinka opened at least 35 brokerage accounts via the Internet at Ameritrade and E*Trade, using the names, Social Security account numbers, dates of birth and other personal identifying information of other individuals without their knowledge, using fraudulent Electronic Funds Transfers from various banks in the Cleveland area, and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that after opening the on-line accounts, Kichinka placed stock purchase orders for hundreds of thousands of shares of stock before the EFTs were returned by the issuing bank as fraudulent, forcing Ameritrade and E*Trade to suffer losses of approximately $341,113.63 upon liquidation of stock held in the fraudulently opened accounts.
The indictment further charges Kichinka with Aggravated Identity Theft for using the personal identifier information of others during and in relation to the Wire Fraud offenses. Kichinka is also charged with two counts of Bankruptcy Fraud in connection with false statements he made on court filings made in connection with his bankruptcy case filed in 2005 in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.
The indictment also charges Kichinka with transmitting in interstate commerce, at least four text message communications threatening to kill or injure one or more other individuals. The indictment alleges that the threatening communications were transmitted by Kichinka from Ohio through a computer system located in California, to the intended recipient located in the Greater Cleveland area.
If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern of the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.