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September 11, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that John B. Sommers, 28, of Alexandria, pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to access device fraud resulting from unauthorized purchases of $90,650.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, between November 9, 2010 and December 21, 2011, Sommers made unauthorized and fraudulent use of access devices, which included credit cards for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Oakdale, La. Sommers worked as a manager for Ralph’s Electronics, an electrical supply company in Alexandria. As part of his scheme, Sommers set up a separate account under his control, but bearing the name of his employer. He then made fraudulent charges on a number of unauthorized access devices. It appeared that his employer was making the purchases when in fact the purchases were Sommers’. Sommers illegally purchased $90,650 worth of merchandise.

The Federal Reserve defines an access device as a card, code or other means of access to a consumer’s account or a combination of these used by the consumer to initiate Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT). Access devices include debit cards, personal identification numbers (PINs), telephone transfer and telephone bill payment codes, and other means to initiate EFT or to form a consumer account.

Sommers faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. A sentencing date of December 12, 2013 was set.

The U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard C. Parker is prosecuting the case.

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