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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


OCTOBER 9, 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 today that a third Peruvian national has been sentenced in federal court for participating in a conspiracy to steal credit cards from elderly women, then make thousands of dollars in purchases with the stolen credit cards.


             Carlos Vidaurre, 41, a citizen of Peru living in California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008, to four years and nine months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Vidaurre to pay $47,781 in restitution.


             On May 14, 2008, Vidaurre pleaded guilty to his 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). He also pleaded guilty to four counts of credit card fraud involving separate victims whose credit cards were stolen and used to make purchases, two counts of interstate transportation of property taken by fraud and one count of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.


             Vidaurre admitted that he and co-conspirators Jeans Vega-Iturrino, 30, and Felix Jimmy Vega-Iturrino, 37, also citizens of Peru living in California, traveled from California to Kansas City, Mo., in order to steal credit cards. Jeans Vega-Iturrino and Felix Vega-Iturrino also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Jeans Vega-Iturrino was sentenced on Aug. 18, 2008, to three years in federal prison without parole and Felix Vega-Iturrino was sentenced on Sept. 9, 2008, to two years in federal prison without parole.


             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. Law enforcement officers seized dozens of those items from several California residences.


            This case was 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