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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A New York man was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for crimes arising from an extensive scheme to manufacture fraudulent credit cards, drivers licenses and other identification cards.

LUIS MANUEL ABINADER RODRIGUEZ, 34, of New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV, to seven years and one month imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and $227,926 in restitution. RODRIGUEZ pleaded guilty to conspiracy; possession of device-making equipment; possession of fifteen or more counterfeit access devices; and production and possession of document making implements and authentication features on December 20, 2010.

At the earlier plea hearing and during the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that, between 2007 and 2009, RODRIGUEZ and others orchestrated a sophisticated, geographically broad fake credit card and identification card scheme, in which they sourced stolen credit card numbers over the Internet, apparently originating in Eastern Europe, and used the numbers to manufacture and encode high quality fraudulent credit cards. RODRIGUEZ and his co-defendants obtained 11,488 stolen numbers, belonging to accounts at 826 banks worldwide.

The defendants maintained sophisticated card-manufacturing machinery, identical to that used by legitimate institutions to generate cards. Two separate card-making plants were seized during the investigation, first during a stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike in August 2008, and later during execution of a search warrant at an apartment in Yonkers, New York, in August 2009. Using the stolen credit card numbers, as well as counterfeit security holograms, other security features, and various other items, RODRIGUEZ and his co-defendants used the machinery to create fake credit cards nearly indistinguishable from legitimate ones. They then generated high quality fake drivers licenses to match the cards, and dispatched “runners” to large chain stores in the Midwest to buy jewelry, electronic goods, and gift cards. The evidence showed that the defendants kept careful track of these purchases and re-sold the goods for profit. Overall, the intended loss in the case was $5.7 million.

Evidence seized from RODRIGUEZ and the others also included templates for all 50 states’ drivers licenses, a guide showing security features for each type of drivers license, and templates for Social Security cards, Canadian identification cards, passports and various university identification cards.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven D. Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service's Boston, New York and London offices, as well as the Massachusetts State Police, the City of Yonkers Police Department, and the Office of the Westchester County District Attorney Narcotics Initiative and Investigations Squad. The investigation also received valuable assistance from Assistant District Attorney Laura Forbes of the Office of the Westchester County District Attorney. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.



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