FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
NOVEMBER 15, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA MAN INDICTED IN CREDIT CARD FRAUD SCHEME
Baltimore, Maryland - A grand jury indicted Ronald Vorel, age 38, of Columbia, Maryland, for mail fraud arising from a scheme to defraud retailers of more than $200,000 in merchandise obtained under false pretenses, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The indictment was returned on November 8, 2007 and unsealed today upon the defendant’s arrest by U.S. Postal Inspectors.
According to the six count indictment and court documents, from at least 2002 to 2004, Vorel used credit cards to order large amounts of merchandise throughout the country via the internet or phone from various companies. He used fictitious names to purchase products. Sometimes Vorel falsely claimed that he had not received the products; other times he falsely claimed that the merchandise was defective. Vorel purported to return a product, asking the merchant to credit his credit card account, when in fact he did not return the product, returned a cheaper product purchased from another merchant, or returned empty boxes to the merchant.
For example, it is alleged that in the Fall of 2004, Vorel claimed he was entitled to a credit on his credit card account for returning products to Brookstone, when he actually returned empty boxes. He also allegedly asked for a credit of approximately $7,000 for two leather chairs that he claimed to have never received; but police officers seized the leather recliners from his apartment in October 2004.
It is further alleged that one merchant was forced to close after 11 years of business following a dispute with Vorel. In August of 2003, Vorel placed an order with a pet store in Washington for two parrots valued at approximately $3,600. He paid by credit card. In September, the store owner and her mother traveled some 300 miles to Seattle, Washington and arranged for safe shipment of the parrots by airplane to the BWI Airport in Baltimore. A personal friend of Vorel signed for and took custody of the parrots at BWI.. Thereafter, Vorel disputed the charge and emailed the store stating that he did not receive the birds. The credit card company issued a chargeback and $3,599.98 was taken from the store’s account. The store suffered a total loss including legal fees of $7,082.97, and moreover, was “blackmarked” by VISA/Master Card as a high risk merchant, causing major financial damage.
Vorel faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Vorel had his initial appearance hearing in federal district court at 3:00 p.m. today.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Harry Gruber, who is prosecuting the case.