Mother and Daughter Sentenced In $600,000 Fraudulent Credit Card Scheme

More than 50 Businesses and Individuals Victimized, Including U.S. Postal Service Customers and Johns Hopkins Patient

April 3, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Ayanna Devon Johnson, age 39, of Baltimore, to 70 months in prison, and sentenced her mother, Gloria Canada, age 55, also of Baltimore, to 81 months in prison, both followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to use stolen identity information to open fraudulent credit accounts and make purchases on “instant credit” at retail stores in Maryland. Judge Blake also entered an order requiring Johnson and Canada to pay restitution of $609,989.

The sentencings were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Barbara Golden of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge John Wagner of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Washington Field Office.

According to their plea agreements and those of their co-defendants, from August 2007 to October 2009, Johnson and Canada obtained stolen personal identity information for the scheme in a variety of ways, including purchasing data from defendant Jasmine Ambler Smith, an employee of Johns Hopkins Hospital from August 2007 to March 2009, and from other individuals who had access to personal identity information through their jobs. Smith improperly accessed the records of the hospital’s patients to obtain the personal identity information of patients and the parents and guardians of minor patients. In addition, Johnson was employed at the U.S. Postal Service from June 2007 to June 2009, and stole identity information of Postal Service customers, including five Naval personnel stationed at the Naval Academy.

Johnson and Canada provided the compromised identity information to defendants Michael Allen, Tyrell McCormick and others to open fraudulent “instant credit” accounts in the identities of the victims. Sometimes Johnson and Canada would provide these individuals, known as “strikers,” with a “shopping list” of items they wanted purchased using the stolen personal identity information. Johnson and Canada would assist the strikers by obtaining fake identification cards from a source in College Park, Maryland for $150 per card. McCormick and Allen then purchased high end electronics, gift cards and other expensive merchandise, maxing out the credit line before the victim whose identity was used to open the account even became aware of its existence.

During the course of the scheme, Canada, Johnson and their co-defendants fraudulently obtained over $600,000 in credit from over 50 institutional and individual victims.

Michael Allen, age 36, of Baltimore;Jasmine Amber Smith, age 27, of Nottingham, Maryland; and Tyrell Douglas McCormick, age 22, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Allen and Smith were previously sentenced to 75 and 54 months in prison, respectively. McCormick faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy; two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence for aggravated identity theft; 30 years in prison for bank fraud; and 15 years in prison for access device fraud. McCormick is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division, U.S. Postal Service - OIG, NCIS and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Tamera L. Fine and James Warwick, who prosecuted the case.

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