Man Sentenced To 56 Months In Multi-layered Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft Scheme Involving Falsified Credit Applications And Fraudulent Lawsuits
WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Arthur Robinson, age 39, of Frederick, Maryland, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Sue L. Robinson, United States District Judge for the District of Delaware, to 56 months imprisonment and full restitution. The defendant pleaded guilty to violations of 42 U.S.C. § 408 (social security fraud), and 18 U.S.C. § 1028A (aggravated identity theft), in April 2014.
Over the course of more than a decade, the defendant defrauded multiple federally insured financial institutions, obtaining at least $200,000. The defendant’s fraud involved making false statements in credit card applications, using the credit cards to make extensive charges, disputing the charges, abandoning significant balances on the cards, and suing the lenders when they commenced collection efforts. In some instances, the defendant used his real name and social security number on the applications, meanwhile falsifying his wage and employment information to appear more creditworthy. In other instances, the defendant used aliases, including “Arthur Collier” and “Michael Johnson”, as well as the names and social security numbers of minor children.
The defendant was able to dispute the charges with lenders, by falsely claiming that he was a victim of identity theft and/or the goods he purchased were not delivered by the merchants. Some of the lenders agreed to remove the charges from the defendant’s credit card accounts. Some did not. When the defendant began receiving collection calls from lenders on the outstanding balances, he responded, once again, with false statements. The defendant sued the lenders, claiming that he knew nothing about the credit cards, and he sought damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (TCPA).
At various points in time, the defendant’s fraudulent activities resulted in negative marks on his credit report. The defendant responded by contacting at least one of the credit agencies to dispute the negative marks. The defendant claimed that he was a victim of identity theft. The defendant’s efforts succeeded in clearing some of the credit history, enabling further fraud. However, by early 2009, extensive negative credit history had accrued. The defendant escalated the fraud by attempting to obtain a new social security number from the government.
The defendant made repeated false representations to the Social Security Administration (SSA), claiming that he was an identity theft victim. The defendant was determined to obtain a new SSN. The SSA initially denied the defendant’s application. Undeterred, the defendant returned to the SSA with falsified letters from banks, purporting to state that the defendant was an identity theft victim. These letters appeared to be authentic at the time, and the defendant was successful in obtaining a new SSN. Within months of the issuance of the new SSN, the defendant used it to open new lines of credit and continue the fraud.
At the Sentencing Hearing, the Honorable Sue L. Robinson commented that the defendant was one of the most “relentlessly dishonest” defendants she had encountered in her years as a Judge.
U.S. Attorney Oberly gave the following comments: “I want to personally thank Barclays Bank for bringing this matter to the attention of my office. Financial institutions, as well as other corporate entities, are increasingly themselves victims of financial crimes. Individuals who defraud individuals or corporations can expect to be prosecuted when crimes such as those committed by Arthur Robinson are brought to our attention.”This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with cooperation from the State of Maryland. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Paxton, District of Delaware.