News

Conspirator Who Stole Credit Cards from Parked Cars Sentenced to over Three Years in Prison


Case Demonstrates Federal Commitment to Stop Importation of Illegal Drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Heather Lee Wayson, age 36, of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, today to 42 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, unauthorized use of credit cards and aggravated identity theft. Judge Williams also ordered Wayson to pay restitution of $12,421.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Chief Teresa Chambers of the U.S. Park Police; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.

According to Wayson’s guilty plea, from at least September 2010, through April 2011, Wayson, committed a series of automobile break-ins with co-conspirator Shawn Cowens, and others. Wayson and her co-conspirators would break into vehicles in order to steal credit cards, and then use the credit cards to purchase goods which could then be resold for cash.

During the time of the conspiracy, Wayson broke into cars parked: at athletic clubs in Pasadena, and Gambrills, Maryland; at an elementary school in Crofton, Maryland; at parks in Pasadena, Annapolis, Cockeysville, and Bethesda, Maryland; and at a restaurant. In each instance, Wayson removed various credit cards and made purchases on those cards at nearby retail establishments on the same day

For example, on the morning of April 6, 2011, Wayson and Shawn Cowens broke into two vehicles parked on National Park Service property near the Clara Barton Parkway in Bethesda, Maryland, removing credit cards issued and belonging to two victims. Later that same day, Wayson, using one of the victim’s credit cards, purchased two computers worth $5,034.98 from the Best Buy store located in College Park, Maryland. Meanwhile, Cowens, posing as the other victim and using that victim’s credit card, made a $598 purchase from another store located in the same shopping center as the Best Buy. Approximately 45 minutes later, the two purchased additional items using the victims’ credit cards, totaling $2,856.25, at three stores in Laurel, Maryland.

The loss attributable to Wayson was between $10,000, but less than $30,000.

As part of her federal plea, and to settle state charges pending in Virginia, Wayson admitted that on February 21, 2008, she provided a fictitious name to a Haymarket Police Officer when she was stopped in Prince William County, Virginia, to avoid discovery that she was driving on a suspended license. Wayson further admitted that she failed to appear for later court proceedings in that case.

Shawn Cowens, age 36, of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, pleaded guilty to his role in the credit card fraud scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27, 2012.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Park Police, the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Adam K. Ake, who prosecuted the case.


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