Washington State Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – Haben Sebhatu, Bellevue, Washington, pled guilty to possessing more than 100 counterfeit credit cards and credit card making equipment during a multi-state trip during which he conducted numerous fraudulent transactions.
Sebhatu was arrested by the Ladue Police Department on March 25, 2016, and a search of his vehicle revealed the fraudulent credit cards and a card encoder used to place stolen card numbers and other information on a card’s magnetic strip. Sebhatu admitted to organizing the trip.
Sebhatu appeared before Judge Audrey G. Fleissig, who accepted his guilty plea this morning in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sentencing has been set for September 20, 2016.
Sebhatu faces up to fifteen years in prison, per count, for possession of more than fifteen counterfeit cards and possession of device making equipment. In addition to a term of imprisonment, Sebhatu faces up to a $250,000 fine per count and mandatory restitution to the victims. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
In addition to his federal case in St. Louis, Sebhatu faces criminal charges in his home state of Washington for identity theft and forgery.
The case was investigated by the Ladue (Missouri) Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and the Pierce County (Washington) Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Restitution to the victims is also mandatory.
Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.