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Oct. 8, 2009

HOUSTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN CREDIT CARD FRAUD CASE

(HOUSTON) - Todd Neuwirth, 32, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, manufacturing false military spouse identification cards and credit card fraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

At a re-arraignment hearing before United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas today, Neuwirth admitted that from January 2009 through July 8, 2009, he and others executed a scheme using false military identification cards and access devices to defraud several different banks in Texas and neighboring states of more than $145,000 through fraudulent credit card cash advances.

Neuwirth obtained several unauthorized credit cards from other participants in the scheme and ordered additional credit cards through the Internet using false or incomplete information. Neuwirth then manufactured false identification cards that appeared to have been issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, namely counterfeit U.S. military spouse identification cards, to match the names on the unauthorized credit cards. Neuwirth then used the counterfeit identification cards and access devices to deceive bank personnel into paying the fraudulent cash advances.

In the event the requested transaction was questioned, Neuwirth or a co-conspirator would contact another co-conspirator waiting outside the bank with a mobile phone who posed as a representative of the credit card company. That person would convince the bank teller the transaction was authorized and provide a false authorization code leading to approval of the transaction.

Through this scheme, Neuwirth fraudulently obtained cash advances from several different banks totaling approximately $145,000.

Neuwirth was indicted and arrested in August 2009 and has been in custody without bond since that time. Accepting the guilty plea, Judge Atlas has set sentencing for January 2010, at which time he faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

The investigation leading to the charges was initiated in July 2009 by the United States Secret Service. Special Assistant United States Attorney Justo A. Mendez prosecuted the case.

 

 

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