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Press Release

Merced Man Pleads Guilty to $60,000 Credit Card Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Ruben Chavez III, 36, of Merced, pleaded guilty today to committing credit card fraud and related identity theft, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, from April 2021 through March 2022, Chavez used or attempted to use more than 20 victims’ credit cards to make over $60,000 in fraudulent purchases at retail stores, including home appliances. He also changed the victims’ mailing addresses to his own address and created fake identification cards in their names to help further his fraud.

This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.

Chavez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Feb. 10, 2023. Chavez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and fine of up to $250,000 for the credit card fraud, and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for the identity theft. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated November 10, 2022

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft