Leader of Fraud scheme targeting local banks and businesses sentenced to nine years in prison
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that a California woman was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to nine years in imprison on her convictions for conspiring to use stolen credit cards at local banks and businesses and passing counterfeit travelers checks at local convenience and grocery stores.
On April 20, 2011, Crystal Singh, 32, a resident of California, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Ralph R. Beistline. The nine-year sentence is to follow the seven-year sentence Singh is currently serving in Mississippi for similar crimes.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Aunnie Steward and Yvonne Lamoureux, who prosecuted the case, the facts supporting Singh’s pleas reveal that Singh was participating in a nationwide scheme. During the summer of 2009, Singh came to Anchorage, Alaska with her co-conspirators, Amber Marquardt and Renee Walker. and directed them in fraudulent activities that victimized approximately five individuals and 20 local businesses and banks.
According to information filed with the court, Singh and her co-conspirators used a similar method at various banks and businesses throughout Anchorage and Wasilla – using stolen credit cards or stolen credit card numbers, Singh directed Marquardt and Walker to present the credit card to the bank or a business asking for a cash advance or goods and services. Singh would arrange for another co-conspirator to pretend to be a credit card customer service representative on the phone. 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. Instead of calling their bank, they would call a co-conspirator whom Singh contacted in advance to say a call was coming. The co-conspirator 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 and take it back to Singh who was waiting outside. Singh then wired some money to California and carried the rest of the money and merchandise back with her on the airplane.
Singh also provided Marquardt and Walker with counterfeit travelers checks that they passed at local stores for small purchases so that they could get cash back.
At sentencing Judge Beistline noted that Singh’s lengthy criminal history indicates that her only source of income as an adult has been crime and that she had a criminal lifestyle in California and that she took this scheme nationwide, including Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Mississippi before finally being caught.
As a result of this scheme in the summer of 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska, Singh, 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.
Marquardt and Walker are still awaiting sentencing.
The Anchorage Airport Police, Anchorage Police Department, and the Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecutions of Singh, Marquardt and Walker.