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Press Release

Stockton Woman Pleads Guilty To Credit Card ID Theft Scheme

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Frances Marie Charles, 35, resident of Stockton, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a fraudulent scheme to obtain replacement American Express credit cards, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. 

According to court documents, from about June 2012 through December 2013, Charles participated in a scheme to fraudulently obtain over 215 replacement American Express credit cards in the names of at least 172 people, and to use the credit cards to obtain cash, goods, and services at the expense of American Express, banks, and merchants.  Charles placed calls to American Express and used personal identifying information and financial information of victims to cause the replacement cards to be sent to Stockton, California, after which the cards would be used to make fraudulent charges and purchases.  The total amount of attempted charges with the credit cards was well in excess of $400,000.

This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher S. Hales is prosecuting the case.

Charles is in custody awaiting sentencing.  She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Troy L. Nunley on June 19, 2014. Charles faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for mail fraud, and not less than 2 years imprisonment for aggravated identity theft, to run consecutively to the sentence for mail fraud. 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 April 8, 2015

Press Release Number: Docket #: 2:14-cr-0077 TLN