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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 18, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PERUVIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED FOR

CREDIT CARD CONSPIRACY THAT

TARGETED ELDERLY WOMEN


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Peruvian national was sentenced in federal court today for participating in a conspiracy to steal credit cards from elderly women, then make thousands of dollars in purchases with the stolen credit cards.


             Jeans Vega-Iturrino, 30, a citizen of Peru living in California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner this afternoon to three years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Vega-Iturrino to forfeit to the government five laptop computers, eight Canon digital cameras, 29 Apple iPods, and $3,000, all of which was seized by law enforcement officers from two residences and a Federal Express facility in Van Nuys, Calif., as well as the following items seized from Vega-Iturrino and two co-defendants: gift cards from Best Buy, Cheesecake Factory and Target, a one-carat diamond ring, a 1/10th-carat yellow gold men’s ring and $735.


             On April 4, 2008, Vega-Iturrino pleaded guilty to her role in a conspiracy to steal credit cards and to use those credit cards to purchase merchandise and gift cards at retail stores in Missouri (in Independence and Lee’s Summit) and Kansas (in Overland Park, Olathe and Lenexa). She also pleaded guilty to four counts of credit card fraud involving separate victims whose credit cards were stolen and used to make purchases.


             Vega-Iturrino admitted that she and co-conspirators Carlow Vidaurre, 41, and Felix Jimmy Vega-Iturrino, 37, both citizens of Peru living in California, traveled from California to Kansas City, Mo., in order to steal credit cards. Felix Jimmy Vega-Iturrino and Carlow Vidaurre also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and await sentencing.


             Conspirators targeted elderly women who were shopping, employing distraction techniques to steal their wallets and credit cards so that the thefts could be accomplished without the victims becoming aware that their belongings were being stolen. Before the victims realized the cards had been stolen, and before the victims could contact their credit issuers to cancel the cards, conspirators used the stolen credit cards to purchase digital cameras, laptop computers, iPods and other merchandise as well as gift cards.


             Conspirators then packaged the stolen items and shipped them to California, where accomplices would hold them until the conspirators returned from Kansas City.


             Vidaurre also pleaded guilty to four counts of credit card fraud, three counts of interstate transportation of property taken by fraud and one count of reentering the United States after having been deported in November 2000. Felix Jimmy Vega-Iturrino also pleaded guilty to two counts of credit card fraud.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Cowles. It was investigated by the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and the Burbank, Calif., Police Department.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html