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April 11, 2012

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Houston Jury Convicts Iranian National

HOUSTON – Hassan Ali Pejouhesh, 63, of Iran, has been convicted of multiple counts of bank fraud, possession of stolen mail and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The jury returned its verdicts just minutes ago after only 20 minutes of deliberation.

According to prosecutors, Pejouhesh took advantage of our postal system to steal people’s mail. “Once he stole their mail, he stole their identities… And then he went to the bank,” said Assistant United States Attorney F. Andino Reynal in his opening statement.

During the two-day trial, the United States presented evidence from 12 witnesses establishing that Pejouhesh stole people’s mail, obtained their personal identifying information and opened bank and credit accounts in their names. Approximately 500 people were affected by the scheme. Inspectors were able to identify Pejouhesh and subsequently executed a search warrant at his apartment where they recovered $22,000 in cash, stolen mail, credit reports and fraudulent credit cards. Inspectors also recovered approximately $20,000 in gold.

Pejouhesh was convicted on all counts as charged against him – four counts of bank fraud, one count of possession of stolen mail and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Pejouhesh has been in federal custody since his arrest on Sept. 24, 2010, where he will remain pending sentencing scheduled for July 5, 2012. At that time, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years and a $1 million fine on each conviction of bank fraud, up to five years and a $250,000 fine for the possession of stolen mail conviction in addition to a two-year mandatory sentence on each conviction of aggravated identity theft which must be served consecutive to any other prison term imposed. 

The investigation was conducted by Inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys F. Andino Reynal and Daniel C. Rodriguez.