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Press Release

Milan Resident Sentenced to 72 Months in Scheme to Defraud Amtrak, While Possessing Firearms, Explosives, and Narcotics

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

A Milan, Michigan resident was sentenced to 72  months in federal prison after having pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud Amtrak and others, along with firearms offenses, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. 

Schneider was joined in the announcement by John R, Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Special Agent in Charge Basil Demczak, Amtrak Office of Inspector General, Central Field Office  Special Agent in Charge Christopher Diiorio, United States Secret Service, Chicago Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge James Deir, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Detroit Division.

Sentenced was Christian Newby, 32.  Newby was sentenced by United States District Judge Gershwin Drain.  As part of his plea agreement, Newby agreed to the entry of a $550,000 money judgment and to forfeit any and all property derived from the scheme to include a Rolex watch and other jewelry.

According to court records, from March 2018 through January 2019, Newby fraudulently obtained credit card information for more than 1100 credit card holders. Newby used the stolen credit card information to purchase Amtrak tickets online.  After purchasing the tickets, Newby would then cancel the Amtrak tickets and receive vouchers for the value of those tickets from Amtrak.  Newby then advertised and sold the Amtrak vouchers to unwitting buyers on eBay at a fraction of the cost.  This was all done without the knowledge or consent of the true card holder.  As a result of this scheme, Amtrak suffered a loss of more than $540,000. 

As part of the investigation, agents executed a search warrant at Newby’s residence and recovered several improvised explosive devices, narcotics, firearms, and ammunition.

The case was investigated by Special Agent John Donnelly Amtrak-Office of the Inspector General with the assistance of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Milan Police Department and the Michigan State Police.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Jerome White, of the Eastern District of Michigan, and Melody Wells, of the Northern District of Illinois. 

Updated September 25, 2020

Identity Theft