Defendant In “Operation Open Market” Sentenced For Committing New Financial Fraud Crimes While In Halfway House
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A defendant sentenced last week to over five years in prison in an online identity theft and credit card trafficking case, “Operation Open Market,” has been sentenced in a separate case to two more years in prison for committing identity theft and financial fraud crimes while he was in a Las Vegas halfway house, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Acting Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Los Angeles.
“Some defendants never learn,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Lofton thought he could get away with continuing his criminal operation in the halfway house, but thanks to sophisticated law enforcement efforts, he will now be serving two more years in prison.”
Michael Lofton, aka “Killit” and “Lofeazy”, 36, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on May 28, 2014, by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan to 24 months in prison, to run consecutively to the 63 months sentence of imprisonment he received on May 22, 2014. Lofton pleaded guilty in January to one count of aggravated identity theft, and admitted that he conspired with others to unlawfully use and traffic in access devices, such as debit and credit cards. Specifically, on Dec. 30, 2012, Lofton fraudulently obtained an iPad, iPad docking station, iPad case, and Kindle Fire HD by using an unauthorized credit account number. Lofton committed the crime while he was residing in a halfway house in Las Vegas awaiting trial in the Operation Open Market case.
In Operation Open Market, Lofton pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization, Carder.su, which trafficked in compromised credit card account data and counterfeit identifications, and committed money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and various types of computer crime. Fifty-six persons were charged in four separate indictments in Operation Open Market.
The cases were investigated by HSI and the U.S. Secret Service, and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Frayn and Andrew W. Duncan, and Trial Attorney Jonathan Ophardt of the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Gang Section.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorney’s offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.