Californians Charged with Identity Theft Crimes in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nev. – Thirteen persons have been indicted on conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges for stealing information from bank credit/debit card readers and ATM's, and using the stolen information to manufacture counterfeit cards, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
"We are working vigilantly with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to identify, arrest and prosecute criminals who are stealing personal information and using it to manufacture counterfeit credit and debit cards," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "If you are involved in this type of criminal activity and are convicted, you are going to federal prison."
The defendants, all from California and ranging in age from 21 to 44, are charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The indictment was returned by the Grand Jury in Las Vegas on March 13, 2012, but was sealed until yesterday to permit law enforcement authorities to make arrests. Six defendants were arrested yesterday in California, five were already in state custody on other charges, and two have not yet been arrested. Initial appearances will be scheduled in Las Vegas in the near future. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and a mandatory minimum of four years in prison on the identity theft charges, to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment.
According to the indictment, beginning in approximately November 2009 and through November 4, 2011, the defendants allegedly installed devices in the internal electronics of the exterior door readers at Las Vegas area banks. The exterior door reader allows customers after-hours access to the bank's ATM machine inside a vestibule. Customers swipe their debit or credit cards in the reader to release the lock. The devices captured data of the account holders including full account numbers, names, and card expiration dates. The defendants also allegedly installed pinhole cameras on the ATM pin pad, which were used to capture a customer's ATM personal identification number (PIN). The defendants then used the information to manufacture counterfeit credit cards, which the defendants used for their own personal gain. The indictment states that the readers were installed at a number of Chase Bank branches in Las Vegas. The indictment does not specify the estimated amount of loss to the bank.
This case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.
This law enforcement action is sponsored by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.