U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 29, 2010
Ringleader of identity theft scheme
is sentenced to 11 years in prison
A federal judge today sentenced Eric Snead, 33, of Providence, to 11 years in prison for orchestrating an identity theft and credit card fraud scheme. Snead and coconspirators compromised the accounts of nearly 50 victims and defrauded banks of more than $400,000 by obtaining duplicate credit cards of victims’ accounts and using the cards to obtain cash and merchandise.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the sentence, which Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed today in U.S. District Court, Providence.
Snead pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme and four other defendants pleaded guilty to their roles in it: Harry Gonzalez, 43, Norma Danzot, 41, Kenneth Muniz, 22, and Dwayne Silva, 29, all of Providence.
At Snead’s plea hearing in October, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi Goldstein said the government could prove that Snead obtained victims’ identity information, and, after researching credit reports, requested duplicate credit cards for their accounts. He then created false temporary Rhode Island drivers’ licenses in the victims’ names, using his coconspirators’ pictures.
The coconspirators, using the false temporary drivers’ licenses, intercepted the shipments of the duplicate cards, either outside the intended address, or at a shipping company terminal. They then used the credit cards to obtain cash advances at gambling casinos or at automobile club service centers. They also used the cards to purchase televisions, computers, cell phones, and other electronic equipment, which they later sold.
Snead pleaded guilty to 32 charges, including conspiracy, fraudulent use of access devices (credit cards), illegally producing and fraudulently possessing identification documents, unlawful possession of a document making implement, and aggravated identity theft. Judge Lisi sentenced Snead to nine years in prison plus two additional years for aggravated identity theft, which is identity theft committed to facilitate another felony.
Gonzalez, Danzot, Muniz, and Silva pleaded guilty to conspiracy and access device fraud. Gonzales and Muniz also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. Danzot and Muniz are free on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for March. Gonzalez and Silva are detained pending sentencing, also scheduled for March.
The United States Secret Service, Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police, and Cranston Police conducted the investigation.