April 29, 2010
HOUSTON COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR CREDIT CARD FRAUD
(HOUSTON) – Todd Neuwirth, 32, and Amber Schneider, 23, both of Houston, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a scheme to defraud several different banks in Texas and neighboring states through fraudulent credit card cash advances and manufacturing false military spouse identification cards, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Court Nancy F. Atlas sentenced Neuwirth to 41 months and Schneider to 22 months in federal prison without parole, for defrauding banks of more than $171,000. Both Neuwirth and Schenider have been in federal custody without bond since their arrest on July 8, 2009. Each pleaded guilty to the federal fraud offense in October 2009. As part of their punishment, Judge Atlas ordered Neuwirth and Schneider to pay full restitution in the amount of $171,600.
From January 2009 through July 8, 2009, Neuwirth and Schneider devised and executed a scheme to obtain money from banks in Texas and neighboring states by obtaining fraudulent cash advances. Neuwirth and Schneider obtained several unauthorized credit cards from others and ordered additional credit cards through the Internet using false or incomplete information. They then manufactured false identification cards that appeared to have been issued by the United States Department of Defense, namely counterfeit U.S. military spouse identification cards. Neuwirth and Schneider manufactured the false identification cards to match the names on the unauthorized credit cards and then used them to deceive the banks’ personnel into paying the fraudulent cash advances.
Neuwirth, Schneider or others would enter a bank, approach a bank teller and ask for a cash advance on a credit card, while the other conspirator remained outside of the bank with a mobile phone, ready to pose as a representative of the credit card company. The participant inside the bank would contact the participant outside the bank via the mobile phone and convince the bank teller to talk to the alleged credit card company representative on the mobile phone to obtain authorization and instructions to complete the cash advance transaction. The conspirators deceived the bank teller into using the bank’s computer offline and entering a false approval code. The conspirator inside the bank would present as proof of identity a counterfeit military spouse identification card, at which point the cash advance would be finally approved ultimately resulting in a loss to several banks of $145,000.
The prosecution was the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service. Special Assistant United States Attorney Justo A. Mendez prosecuted the case.
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