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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 22, 2015

Raleigh Identity Thief Sent To Prison For 7 Years For Role In Credit Card And Cigarette Trafficking Scheme

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that yesterday in federal court Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced SAIKU GANDO BARRIE, 28, of Raleigh, to serve a total of 7 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, on charges of Aggravated Identity Theft and Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud.  BARRIE was also ordered to make restitution to numerous victims.

According to the Indictment, BARRIE was a participant in a five year credit card and cigarette trafficking scheme.  The purpose of the scheme was to use stolen credit card account information to purchase large quantities of cigarettes in North Carolina which were resold in New York.  To carry out the scheme, participants acquired stolen credit card data from other conspirators and encoded the stolen data onto the magnetic strip of what appeared to be legitimate gift cards.  Managers in the scheme, including BARRIE, then distributed the cards to “runners” who traveled to various gas stations, convenience stores, and grocery stores located around the state to purchase dozens of cartons of cigarettes at a time using the counterfeit gift cards.  The runners returned the cigarettes to the managers in the scheme, who paid the runners a kickback.  Managers, including BARRIE, periodically made trips to New York to sell the cigarettes on the black market for cash.

At the sentencing hearing, the Government argued for a 7 year prison sentence based upon a variety of factors, including the fact that the defendant had been involved in five separate arrest events with state authorities over time, but had been undeterred from the activity.  The Government also argued that the case involved untold losses and large numbers of victims whose identities had been compromised.  The defendant argued, through counsel, the he carried out the offenses in order to eat.  The court specifically rejected this argument when it announced the lengthy prison sentence.

Investigation of BARRIE’s case was conducted by the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the Raleigh Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.

Updated July 14, 2015