FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A former fugitive who was arrested last month in Detroit appeared in Newark federal court today to face charges of fraud, identity theft and failure to appear, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Luis Colon, a/k/a “Mike,” a/k/a “Junito, 29, arrived in New Jersey yesterday following his April 9, 2012, arrest in Detroit. Colon faces charges related to his alleged purchase of more than $75,000 in pesticides and pesticide applicators from wholesale suppliers using stolen credit card and debit card numbers, and for failing to appear as required at a Nov. 14, 2011, arraignment.
Colon appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Shipp in Newark federal court for a reading of the 21-count Superseding Indictment against him. He entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and consented to detention.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Colon and his co-conspirators obtained credit card and debit card numbers by calling individuals in Michigan posing as representatives of a local utility company. They used the stolen credit card and debit card numbers to purchase pesticides and pesticide applicators from wholesalers outside New Jersey and directed the wholesalers to ship the products to various locations, including Colon’s home address in Union City and a co-conspirator’s address in West New York, N.J. The defendants subsequently sold the products to a pesticide retailer in Philadelphia for cash. The stolen debit and credit card numbers were also used to purchase bus tickets, which were used by Colon and others to transport the pest control products to Philadelphia.
After more than six months on the run, Colon was apprehended in Detroit on April 9, 2012, following a tip that resulted from billboard fugitive announcement posted by the FBI.
Colon is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison; 17 counts of credit card fraud and attempted credit card fraud, each of which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; two counts of aggravated identity theft, each of which carry a mandatory penalty of two years in prison to run consecutive to his sentence on the other counts. He is also charged with one count of failing to appear as required at a previously scheduled arraignment, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, also to run consecutive to his sentence on the other counts. Each count of the Superseding Indictment also carries a maximum fine of $250,000. Trial is currently scheduled for Aug. 14, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to the Superseding Indictment and the apprehension of Colon.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O’Leary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Alexander W. Booth Esq., Union City, N.J.