HARTFORD RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH OPERATING IDENTITY THEFT AND CREDIT CARD SCHEME, COUNTERFEITING OFFENSES
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JONATHAN PRESTON, 22, and LUMI NUNEZ, 33, of Hartford, were arrested today on a criminal complaint alleging that they operated an extensive identity theft and credit card fraud scheme, and engaged in counterfeiting offenses.
PRESTON and NUNEZ were arrested this morning at their residence at 848 Capitol Avenue in Hartford. They appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and are detained pending a hearing that is scheduled for tomorrow.
As alleged in the criminal complaint, PRESTON and NUNEZ used the Internet and other sources to obtain personal identifying information of several prominent individuals, and used that information to pose as their victims to gain access to the victims’ credit card accounts. Since approximately 2010, it is alleged that PRESTON and NUNEZ used the credit card accounts to make more than $500,000 in unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals. The purchases included automobiles, Vespa scooters, jewelry, and a limousine trip from Connecticut to Ohio.
Members of the U.S. Secret Service, Hartford Police Department and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force conducted a court-authorized search of the defendant’s residence today and seized from the premises a BMW 650i automobile that had allegedly been rented for $16,000 using a fraudulent credit card account number.
The complaint further alleges that a previous search of a Hartford residence occupied by PRESTON and NUNEZ revealed counterfeit $50 bills and counterfeiting instructions.
The complaint specifically charges PRESTON and NUNEZ with manufacturing counterfeit currency, passing counterfeit currency, and conspiracy.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, Hartford Police Department and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force. The Task Force includes members of the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Connecticut State Police, and the Greenwich, Hartford, Monroe, Stamford, Shelton, Stratford and Waterford Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang.
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