2 New York Men Sentenced for Credit Card Fraud
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that two New York men have been sentenced in New Haven federal court for their roles in a credit card fraud scheme.
On February 5, Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall sentenced YANG-SHI LIN, 31, of Flushing, to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release. Today, Chief Judge Hall sentenced MEI BAO LU, 31, of Flushing, to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2014 and September 2015, LU was the ringleader of a group of individuals from New York that engaged in counterfeit credit card transactions at retail stores along the East Coast. LIN was LU’s second-in-command. As part of the scheme, LU provided several individuals (“buyers”) with counterfeit credit cards, which had been produced from credit card information skimmed from cardholders, and directed the buyers to purchase gift cards and luxury merchandise using the counterfeit cards. LU then sold the items to other individuals at a discount in order to be fenced or sold on the black market. The group engaged in fraudulent credit card transactions at retail stores in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In total, the group members collectively used 120 counterfeit credit cards, issued by 18 victim financial institutions, to make a total of approximately $179,000 in fraudulent purchases. Investigators discovered an additional 333 stolen card numbers on thumb drives belonging to LU and LIN that had not been used at the time of their arrests.
The investigation began in February 2015 when the Clinton Police Department and other police departments in nearby Connecticut towns received several complaints from citizens about unauthorized charges on their credit and debit cards. The investigation revealed that many of the complaining citizens had all dined at the same Clinton restaurant during a two-week period in early February 2015.
A federal arrest warrant for LU was issued on August 18, 2015. LU was arrested on September 3, 2016, in West Virginia, after he and three other individuals were caught buying gift cards and merchandise with counterfeit credit cards at a mall in Barboursville, West Virginia. On February 17, 2017, LU pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and aiding and abetting.
LIN was arrested on August 20, 2015, and pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 22, 2017.
LU and LIN, who are released on bond, were ordered to report to prison on March 7, 2018.
Several other members of LU’s group were charged and convicted for credit card related offenses in state and federal courts in Maine, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia.
This matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Clinton Police Department. The U.S. Secret Service, Millburn (N.J.) Police Department, New York Police Department, New York State Police, Acton (Mass.) Police Department, and Barboursville (W. Va.) Police Department assisted with the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj N. Patel.