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Man Who Defrauded Citibank and Credit Card Companies of Almost $4 Million Sentenced to Four Years in Federal Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2008

Las Vegas, Nev. – Andrew Michael, 40, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on April 16, 2008, to four years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution for defrauding Citibank, Bank of America, and several credit card processing companies of millions of dollars, announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. Michael pleaded guilty in January to making a false statement on a credit application.

"As this case demonstrates, individuals who defraud federally-insured financial institutions, and are prosecuted and convicted, are likely to receive lengthy sentences of imprisonment and be ordered to pay significant monetary penalties," said U.S. Attorney Brower.

From December 29, 2005, to July 24, 2006, Andrew Michael, aided by his wife, Bernadette Pagan, and mother, Phyllis Ries, used false financial information, false bank references and false independent audit reports to apply for an $8.5 million dollar commercial line of credit with Citibank, causing Citibank to issue three Diners Club Corporate Cards to Michael, Pagan, and Ries. Michael later attempted to increase the credit line to $20 million. Account histories for the corporate credit cards revealed that over $2 million had been charged to the accounts for the personal expenses of Michael, Pagan and Ries. During the execution of a search warrant at Michael's residence, law enforcement agents seized $24,000 in cash, 170 troy ounces of silver, 479 tubes of gold flakes, 303 collectible coins, a Rolex watch, cashier's checks, and funds in several investment accounts. All three were charged in August 2006 with bank fraud and making a false statement on a credit application.

The defendant's mother was permitted to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement for 18 months. The defendant's wife pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the false statement in the credit application, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, at 9:00 a.m.

At the time Michael committed the federal offense, he was under the supervision of the State of Nevada Department of Probation and Parole for a conviction for attempting to practice medicine without a license in 2005.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.

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