Silver Spring Man Sentenced to over 6 Years in Prison in Credit Card Fraud Scheme
Some of the Credit Card Numbers Used in the Scheme Were Stolen By a Restaurant Server Who “Skimmed” Customer Numbers
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams sentenced Mohammed Keita, age 42, of Silver Spring, Maryland, today to 76 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, in a credit card fraud scheme resulting in over $135,000 in losses. Judge Williams also ordered Keita to forfeit and pay restitution of $136,838.30. Keita was convicted by a federal jury on August 10, 2012 of three counts each of the unauthorized use of credit/debit cards and aggravated identity theft, on one count each of possessing counterfeit credit/debit cards and possession of device-making equipment.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge David Beach of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to court documents and evidence presented at Keita’s three-day trial, law enforcement executed a search warrant at a residence being used by Keita on January 31, 2012. Agents recovered two laptop computers which contained hundreds of stolen credit card numbers; more than 15 fraudulent debit/credit cards bearing Keita’s name that had been re-encoded with the stolen credit card information of other individuals; receipts confirming Keita’s unauthorized use of other individuals’ credit/debit card information; and a device used to re-encode counterfeit credit cards.
According to trial testimony, the investigation began after law enforcement received numerous complaints from credit card account holders that unauthorized charges were occurring at grocery and department stores with their credit card numbers. Analysis of the surveillance tapes at several of the businesses where the unauthorized charges occurred revealed that Keita was conducting many of the fraudulent transactions, purchasing gift card, cigarettes and other merchandise. Investigators were able to identify at least 130 instances of debit/credit card fraud committed by Keita between July 2009 and January 2012. Evidence was presented that some of the credit card numbers that Keita possessed came from Lancelot Quartey, a server at a local restaurant, who had “skimmed” the credit card numbers from customers.
Quartey, age 31, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit credit/debit card fraud and was sentenced to three months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Quartey was also ordered to pay restitution of $15,475.59.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service and Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Sujit Raman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary Davidson of the U.S. Justice Department Criminal Division, who prosecuted the case.