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Press Release

California Woman Sentenced on Fraud Charges

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

St. Louis, MO – Latricia Newell was sentenced to 48 months in prison involving her use of counterfeit credit cards to purchase gift cards in the St. Louis area.

According to court documents, on January 31, 2016, a Chesterfield, Missouri, police officer received a call that Latricia Newell had used a credit card embossed in her name to purchase gift cards.  However, when the receipt was printed, it revealed that the account number used to make the purchase had been issued to an individual other than Newell.  When the officer approached her vehicle, he noticed 20 cards had fallen out of her purse.  By searching her car, the officer found 51 gift cards that had been fraudulently purchased, and 64 credit/debit cards embossed in Newell’s name.  The 64 credit/debit cards were similar to the card which triggered the investigation in that the magnetic strips on the back of the cards were encoded with the account numbers of others.  Newell advised the arresting officers that she had traveled to the St. Louis metropolitan area from California with the cards in her possession.

After her arrest, law enforcement officers discovered her use of re-encoded credit cards to purchase gift cards and other merchandise in the Missouri cities of St. John, Brentwood, Clayton, and Hazelwood.  When the magnetic strips found on the back of the cards in defendant’s possession were scanned by law enforcement officers, the officers discovered that the account numbers had been issued by financial institutions to more than 60 individuals.  Further investigation by the United States Secret Service revealed that on February 21, 2014, airport authorities in Austin, Texas, discovered more than 323 gift cards and 39 re-encoded cards during a routine screening of baggage that was to be flown from Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles, California.  Of the 39 counterfeit cards discovered, 38 were embossed in Newell’s name.  Newell was on the manifest for the flight.   

Newell, Harbor City, CA, pled guilty in June to one felony count of possession of 15 or more counterfeit credit cards, two felony counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of use of unauthorized access devices.  She appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry.

The case was investigated by the Missouri police departments of Chesterfield, St. John, Brentwood, Clayton and Hazelwood and the United States Secret Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.   

Updated October 27, 2016

Identity Theft