SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –A Springfield, Illinois, man, Calvin Christian, III, 31, of the 1700 block of South College Street was sentenced on August 25, 2022, to 24 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for six counts of either possessing or using counterfeit access devices or related offenses.
At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that beginning in late 2014 Christian obtained card-encoding hardware that connected to his computer allowing him to re-code information from credit cards, gift cards, or other cards with magnetic stripes. He then used cryptocurrency to purchase stolen credit card information on the internet and used the information with the encoding hardware to make “new” credit cards that were linked credit card or bank accounts of other individuals. He and others then used the fraudulent cards to purchase goods or gift cards. Christian was held accountable for $44,634.34 in total loss, stemming from conduct which lasted from 2015 to 2017.
Also at the hearing, United States District Judge Sue E. Myerscough found Christian was an organizer or leader and that the offense involved at least six financial institutions and 14 individual victims. She also noted the length of his criminal actions and his persistence in continuing his enterprise, even after he had been caught multiple times.
“Sophisticated fraud accomplished using stolen identifying information, cryptocurrency, and the dark-web is an unfortunate new reality in our society, but this case shows that the United States Secret Service and other law enforcement working with federal prosecutors will work tirelessly to bring technologically savvy criminals to justice,” said Assistant United States Attorney Tanner Jacobs.
“This type of fraudulent activity can be devastating to everyday citizens and their families, and we appreciate our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold criminals accountable for their actions,” said USSS Resident Agent in Charge Stephen Webster. “The U.S. Secret Service remains committed to investigating and arresting those that engage in crimes that undermine the integrity of the U.S. financial and payment systems.”
Christian was indicted in June of 2017 and pleaded guilty in May of 2019. His sentencing hearing was continued numerous times because of COVID-19.
The maximum statutory penalties for the access device fraud related offenses ranged from ten to fifteen years in prison, not more than three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine.
The United States Secret Service, Springfield Resident Office, investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Tanner Jacobs represented the government in the prosecution.