Skip to main content
Press Release

Arizona Man Sentenced for Role in Scheme to Steal Money from U.S. Bank Accounts

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Arizona man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in San Diego to 51 months in prison for conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

According to court documents, Luis Ramirez, 43, of Mesa, Arizona, helped to obtain “leads” for fraudsters who sought to steal money from the bank accounts of unknowing U.S. victims. The “leads” consisted of financial information for the prospective victims that included bank account numbers. Ramirez and his coconspirators trafficked “leads” that originated from payday loan applications of consumers across the United States. Ramirez was also sentenced yesterday to 120 months in prison on a separate case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. In sentencing Ramirez, Judge Cynthia Bashant of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined that 24 months of his sentence should run consecutively, so that Ramirez’s total sentence is 144 months in prison.

“Those who knowingly supply fraudsters with personal and financial information about potential victims cause enormous harm to the American public,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We are committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who sell such information for illicit purposes.”

“The Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to protecting American consumers,” said Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group. “In this case, small transactions were used to conceal the scheme, but that wasn’t enough to fool postal inspectors or keep us from adding it all together to put a halt to this fraud.”

Related cases against other scheme participants have previously been filed in Los Angeles and in Las Vegas. In May 2023, a grand jury in Los Angeles returned an indictment charging 14 defendants with RICO conspiracy and other charges in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The indictment alleges that the defendants and associates debited consumers’ bank accounts without authorization and used shell entities and “micro debits” to conceal the activity from banks. “Micro debits” serve to conceal fraud by grouping unauthorized charges with a large number of low-value, straw transactions to lower the fraudster’s chargeback rate. Another scheme participant, Harold Sobel, pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy in federal court in Las Vegas. In December 2022, Sobel was sentenced to 42 months in prison.

USPIS investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Wei Xiang, Meredith Healy and Amy Kaplan of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Central and Southern Districts of California.

For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit

Updated May 22, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-649