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Oct. 20, 2009


(HOUSTON) - Amber Schneider, 23, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, manufacturing false military spouse identification cards and credit card fraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Schneider was indicted along with Todd Neuwirth in August 2009. Today, Scheider pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas admitting that from January 2009 through July 8, 2009, she, Neuwirth 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.

Schneider and Neuwirth obtained several unauthorized credit cards from other participants in the scheme and ordered additional credit cards through the Internet using incomplete information. Schneider 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.
Schneider 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, Schneider would contact Neuwirth or 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, Schneider and Neuwirth fraudulently obtained cash advances from several different banks totaling approximately $145,000.

Accepting Schneider’s guilty plea, Judge Atlas has set sentencing for Jan. 13, 2010, at which time she faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Co-conspirator Todd Neuwirth pleaded guilty Oct. 8, 2009, to conspiracy, credit card fraud and fraud for his part in the scheme. He faces the same punishment range and is pending sentencing in January 2010. Both Schneider and Neuwirth have been in custody without bond since their arrests in August 2009 and will remain in custody pending sentencing.

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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