News and Press Releases

"Three Men Sentenced For Fraud Scheme Involving Misappropriated Credit / Debit Card Information"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2014

Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Yanoysy Hernandez-Hernandez, age 35, of Spokane, Washington, Ernesto Morales, age 42, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Osmany Ruiz Lemas, age 43, of Spokane, Washington were sentenced for their involvement in a credit card / debit card fraud scheme. In the fall of 2013, Hernandez-Hernandez and Morales pleaded guilty to multiple charges of Aggravated Identity Theft and Lemas pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud.

United States District Court Judge Lonny R. Suko sentenced Hernandez-Hernandez to a 30 month term of imprisonment and Morales to a 36 month term of imprisonment, with both terms to be followed by a 1 year term of court supervision after release from Federal prison; Aggravated Identify Theft charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of two years imprisonment. In addition, Judge Suko ordered Hernandez-Hernandez to pay $807.61 in restitution, along with a $5,000.00 fine and ordered Morales to pay $16,681.01 in restitution. Judge Suko sentenced Lemas to a 5 year term of probation.

According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, beginning in December 2012 and continuing to February 2013, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General conducted an investigation into the use of fraudulently obtained credit card and debit card numbers to purchase diesel fuel and other items of value in the Eastern District of Washington. As a result of the investigation, agents executed multiple search warrants on packages sent from Georgia and Florida to the Eastern District of Washington that were found to contain numerous gift cards with fraudulently obtained credit card and debit card account numbers loaded onto the gift cards. Agents also executed multiple search warrants at residences and other locations in the Eastern District of Washington. The fraudulently obtained credit and debit card account numbers found on the gift cards sent from Georgia and Florida were obtained from numerous people across the country. The gift cards could then be used as a credit card or debit card and would cause fraudulent charges to the respective credit and debit card account numbers on the gift cards. None of the account holders of the credit and debit card accounts found during the course of investigation authorized any of the Defendants to use their accounts.

It was further disclosed during the court proceedings that some of the fraudulently obtained account numbers were sent to Hernandez-Hernandez by Morales from Georgia. Once Hernandez-Hernandez received the gift cards in Spokane, he would use the gift cards to purchase diesel fuel and other things of value. Hernandez-Hernandez also provided Lemas with several gift cards that Lemas used to purchase diesel fuel. The diesel fuel purchased with the gift cards was loaded into specially modified vehicles and then resold to other people for a profit. The transportation of the fraudulently obtained diesel fuel was done using vehicles that were not approved for the transportation of such large quantities of fuel. During the course of investigation, agents also seized several vehicles that were used to transport the fraudulently obtained diesel fuel. The vehicles will be forfeited to the United States.

Michael C. Ormsby said, "The Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service, and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General are committed to investigate thoroughly identity theft crimes. Prosecuting this type of fraud is a priority for United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Washington. The successful prosecution of these cases is yet another example of the seamless and symbiotic working partnership of the Federal agencies working in this District."

This investigation was conducted by the Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. These cases were prosecuted by James A. Goeke, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

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