New York Resident Charged In Federal Court In Rhode Island With Allegedly Using Stolen Identities And Fraudulent Credit Cards To Purchase Over $156,000 Worth Of Gift Cards
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Yvener Jean-Baptiste, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been charged in federal court in Providence, R.I., with allegedly obtaining more than $156,000 in Target and Wal-Mart gift cards by allegedly using stolen identities and fraudulent credit cards, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Ted A. Arruda, Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service, and Lincoln Police Chief Brian W. Sullivan.
According to an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant filed with the court, it is alleged that on at least five occasions between November 1 and November 30, 2013, Jean-Baptiste purchased gift cards totaling $156,157.62 at Target stores in Lincoln, the Warwick Mall and on Bald Hill Road in Warwick, and at a Wal-Mart store in Warwick. The purchases were allegedly made using counterfeit credit cards with account numbers belonging to other individuals. The alleged purchases were made without the knowledge or permission of the credit card owners.
According to the affidavit, Jean-Baptiste returned to the Target store in Lincoln on November 30, 2013, one day after he and another person allegedly purchased $75,894.01 worth of Target gift cards using 6 counterfeit credit cards. He allegedly returned to the store in a vehicle previously identified by a Target employee as being driven by the individuals who allegedly committed credit card fraud the previous day. A search of the vehicle by Lincoln Police resulted in the seizure of 10 counterfeit credit cards, a counterfeit driver’s license and multiple Target gift cards.
According to the affidavit, the investigation into Jean-Baptiste’s alleged fraudulent activities resulted in the discovery of additional purchases of gift cards using fraudulent credit cards on November 1, 2013, at Target stores at the Warwick Mall and on Bald Hill Road in Warwick, and on November 22, 2013, at the Target store at the Warwick Mall and at a Wal-Mart store in Warwick.
According to the affidavit, during an interview with Lincoln Police, Jean-Baptiste allegedly told police that he typically received $200 for every $800 fraudulent transaction he conducted. Jean-Baptiste told police he provided the gift cards to another individual in New York.
Yvener Jean-Baptiste has been charged by way of a criminal complaint with one count each of credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. Not guilty pleas were entered during his initial appearance on May 1, 2013, before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. Jean-Baptiste was release to home confinement with electronic monitoring and $100,000 bond.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation 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.
Credit card fraud is punishable by a statutory penalty up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory penalty of 2 years in federal prison, consecutive to all other terms of imprisonment imposed.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/