California Man Sentenced for Access Device Fraud
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that James W. Ball, Jr., age 42, of Oakland, California was sentenced for his conviction for possession of device making equipment, possession of 15 or more counterfeit access devices, and production and use of a counterfeit access device. On September 6, 2012, United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bataillon sentenced Ball to a term of imprisonment of twelve months and one day to be followed by three years of supervised release. Ball was further ordered to pay restitution to the United States Postal Service in the amount of $12,144.14 and a special assessment of $300.
The United States Postal Service maintains automated postal machines at various locations in the Omaha area. In April of 2011, Postal inspectors began surveillance on several of these machines after the Postal Service began detecting fraudulent activity on its machines. On April 26th, Postal inspectors observed Ball making numerous transactions at one machine using several different credit cards or other access device cards. Further investigation revealed that Ball was involved in making fraudulent transactions at several area automated postal machines between April 23rd and April 30th in which $12,144.00 in stamps were purchased using credit cards or other access devices which did not belong to him. More than 20,000 stamps were purchased in this fashion.
During the investigation, Postal Inspectors intercepted a package Ball had attempted to mail from Omaha to his home in Oakland, California. The package contained 54 counterfeit access cards. Postal Inspectors were able to determine that the information on the magnetic strip on the back of the cards did not match the account information printed on the front of the cards. Ball was arrested at Eppley Airfield as he was attempting to fly back to California. A search of his backpack yielded a magnetic card reader/writer which was capable of inserting account data onto magnetic strips used in credit cards and similar access devices. The search also yielded a laptop computer which contained account information relating to financial accounts not belonging to the defendant.
The case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service.