New Orleans Man Charged In Credit Card Fraud Conspiracy
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that JEFFERY JOSEPH, age 24, a resident of New Orleans, was charged Friday, December 14, 2018 in a second superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and related offenses. He joins four other defendants already charged in this conspiracy, all of whom are from New Orleans: LAKISHA WILLIAMS, age 37, BRITTANY WHITE, age 32, KEYIRA GABLE, age 32, and TAMIKA STEVENS, age 47.
According to court documents, JOSEPH and the other defendants engaged in a scheme to obtain merchandise and cash from stores through fraud. The defendants obtained stolen credit and debit card information, encoded it onto cards, and then used that information to purchase items at stores. The defendants would then return the items at a different store of the same chain, but they would deceive store workers in order to have the chargeback credited to their own bank accounts. In order to perpetrate the scheme without being detected, JOSEPH and the other defendants took flights to commit the fraud in different states, including Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and others. Records show that JOSEPH received fraudulent chargebacks from a variety of stores, including JCPenney, T.J.Maxx, Ross, Kay Jewelers, Zales, and others. Most recently, JOSEPH used a social security number that was stolen from a minor child to open a Verizon account in Baton Rouge.
If convicted, JOSEPH faces the following penalties. For conspiracy to commit access device fraud, he faces a maximum of five years in prison. For the unauthorized use of access devices and possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, he faces a maximum of ten years in prison. For possession of access device-making equipment, JOSEPH faces a maximum of fifteen years in prison. Finally, JOSEPH is charged with aggravated identity theft, which mandates a two year prison sentence consecutive to any other sentence. JOSEPH may also be fined up to $250,000.00, or twice the gross gain or gross loss caused by this scheme.
U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.