News

Takoma Park Man Who Possessed over 250 Unauthorized Credit Card Numbers Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison


Also Possessed a Loaded Gun Near a School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. sentenced Joel Chuma Uzodinma, age 29, of Takoma Park, Maryland, today to nine years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possession of unauthorized access devices, aggravated identity theft and possession of a gun in a school zone.

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 Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, on July 17, 2010 Prince George’s County Police officers arrested Uzodinma during a traffic stop. A subsequent inventory of Uzodinma’s car revealed a laptop computer and magnetic stripe reader/writer which Uzodinma used to re-encode credit cards with account information belonging to others. The laptop contained 154 credit card numbers, none belonging to Uzodinma. Also recovered were seven credit cards stamped with Uzodinma’s name, but re-encoded with account information belonging to another person.

Prince George’s County Police officers executed a search warrant on Uzodinma’s apartment and car, and seized: 13 re-encoded credit cards stamped with his name, at least two of which were originally encoded with another person’s name; a laptop containing 94 additional credit card numbers, none of which belonged to Uzodinma; and a loaded semi-automatic pistol from the car, which was less than 1,000 feet from a private school in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The intended loss to the holders of the more than 250 unauthorized credit card numbers seized, and to the financial institutions that issued the cards, is between $200,000 and $400,000.

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 praised the U.S. Secret Service and Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein expressed his appreciation to the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Nitze and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner, who prosecuted the case.

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