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Thursday, February 18, 2010

BOSTON, MA - A Lawrence man and two other men were charged today in federal court with conspiring to create fraudulent credit cards and identity cards, and with possessing fraudulent credit cards, thousands of credit card numbers belonging to other people, and the equipment needed to produce fraudulent credit cards and licenses.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, announced today that LEONARDO BENCOSME, age 32, of Lawrence; JOSE RAFAEL ABINADER RODRIGUEZ, age 34, of New York; and LUIS MANUEL ABINADER RODRIGUEZ, age 34, of New York, were charged in an Indictment with conspiring to commit credit card fraud; conspiring to commit identity fraud; possession of credit card-making equipment; possession of over fifteen counterfeit or unauthorized credit cards or credit card account numbers; and possession of implements and authentication features for producing false identity documents.

The Indictment, and a prior Criminal Complaint issued on November 23, 2009, alleges that the three defendants worked together to produce high quality fraudulent credit cards and identity documents, and used the cards to buy electronic goods, jewelry and clothes. It is alleged that in August 2007, the group purchased the electronic equipment needed to produce professional-quality credit and identity cards, and at some point also acquired thousands of credit card numbers, white card stock, security features used to authenticate credit cards (like holograms), and templates for most State-issued drivers licenses and a U.S. Social Security card. In August 2008, BENCOSME and JOSE RAFAEL ABINADER RODRIGUEZ were stopped on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton, driving a rented truck containing electronic machinery and supplies needed to produce fraudulent credit and identity cards. The vehicle also allegedly contained, among other things, 39 fraudulent credit cards bearing account numbers belonging to citizens of the United Kingdom; a hard drive containing hundreds of templates for licenses and other cards as well as thousands of credit card numbers; and a 9mm handgun. After further investigation it is alleged that, in August 2009, LUIS MANUEL ABINADER RODRIGUEZ was arrested in Yonkers, New York, with a similar card-manufacturing plant and various fraudulent credit and identity cards.

If convicted on these charges, the three men face up to 7 1/2 years imprisonment on Count One, up to 15 years on Count Two, up to 15 years on Count Three, up to 10 years on Count Four, and up to 15 years on Count Five, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine on each count.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police, the Yonkers Police Department in New York and the Westchester County District Attorney's Office in New York. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of Ortiz's Economic Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the Indictment and Criminal Complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

In an effort to identify potential victims of this crime, and keep identified victims informed of the status of this criminal case, go to the U.S. Attorney’s Office website at WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/MA. Potential victims of this crime may also call the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s victim assistance toll-free number at 888-221-6023 to obtain more information.


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