california women plead guilty to bank fraud and credit card fraud conspiracy
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that on August 4, 2010, Amber Marquardt of French Camp, California, pled guilty in federal court in Anchorage to participating in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and credit card fraud. On July 27, 2010, Marquardt's co-defendant, Renee Walker, entered a plea of guilty in federal court in Sacramento, California to participating in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and credit card fraud.
Marquardt, 24, pled guilty in front of Chief United States District Judge Ralph R. Beistline. Walker, 22, pled guilty in front of Senior United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Aunnie Steward and Yvonne Lamoureux, who prosecuted the case, the facts supporting Marquardt's and Walker's pleas reveal that Marquardt and Walker were participating in a nationwide scheme. During the summer of 2009, Marquardt's and Walker's involvement in the scheme in Anchorage, Alaska, victimized approximately 5 individuals and 20 local businesses.
According to information filed with the court, Marquardt, Walker and their co-conspirators used a similar method at various banks and businesses – using stolen credit cards or stolen credit card numbers, Marquardt and Walker would present the credit card to the bank or a business asking for a cash advance or goods and services. Marquardt and Walker would show the bank teller or business merchant a fake identification in the name of the person whose name was on the credit card. When the credit card was declined, Marquardt and Walker would say that they needed to call their bank because there should be no problem with the credit card. But instead of calling their bank, they would call a co-conspirator. The coconspirator would then speak with the bank teller or business merchant and pretend to be a customer service representative from the bank. The co-conspirator would explain that the transaction should be processed and advise the bank teller or business merchant how to override the declined transaction and process Marquardt's and Walker's requests. Marquardt and Walker would then receive the requested cash advance from the bank or the goods or services from the business.
As a result of this scheme in the summer of 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska, Marquardt and Walker, together with others, fraudulently obtained approximately $122,684 in fraudulent cash advances and fraudulently obtained services and merchandise, and fraudulently attempted to obtain cash advances, services and merchandise valued at approximately $48,303, for a total of $184,512.
Judge Beistline scheduled sentencing for Marquardt on October 26, 2010. Judge Karlton scheduled sentencing for Walker on October 13, 2010. The law provides for a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Anchorage Airport Police, Anchorage Police Department, and the Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecutions of Marquardt and Walker.