States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|December 16, 2010||
NEW HAVEN RESIDENT SENTENCED TO 87 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR LARGE ID THEFT AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD SCHEME
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that LUIS MELENDEZ, also known as “Ramiro Morales-Cruz,” 33, of New Haven, was sentenced on Tuesday, December 14, by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing more than $780,000 through a 15-month scheme to take over customer credit accounts at Sam’s Club and Walmart stores. On June 4, 2010, MELENDEZ pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on May 7, 2009, MELENDEZ entered a Sam’s Club in Manchester, Connecticut, and produced what purported to be a Massachusetts photo identification card of an individual (“G.I.”). MELENDEZ represented himself as G.I., who is an actual person and who had a preexisting credit account at Sam’s Club. MELENDEZ requested a new Sam’s Club membership and credit card, which is valid at Sam’s Club and Walmart stores. Sam’s Club produced a new card for MELENDEZ and put his picture on the card. MELENDEZ then used the unauthorized card on May 7 and May 8, 2009, to make numerous transactions totaling $9,771.60 at a Sam’s Club location in Newington, and at Walmart locations in Newington, Manchester, Groton, East Windsor, Wallingford, and Hartford.
MELENDEZ has admitted that between April 2008 and July 2009, he fraudulently took over approximately 117 Sam’s Club and Walmart credit accounts in a similar manner and engaged in unauthorized transactions at various Sam’s Club and Walmart locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Puerto Rico. As a result, the businesses and the credit company that supported the credit accounts suffered losses of $781,571.80.
During the sentencing proceedings, Judge Covello ordered MELENDEZ to pay a total of $781,571.80 in restitution to Sam’s Club and GE Money Bank, which provided credit services to Walmart and Sam’s Club.
This matter was investigated by the United States Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David E. Novick.
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