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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alleged Fraud Scheme Racked Up $243k In Gift Cards & Merchandise

PHILADELPHIA - Diane Williams, 51, of New York, NY, was charged today by indictment with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to use stolen bank cards to buy department store gift cards, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

According to the indictment, between January 2011 and February 2012, a co-conspirator, unknown to the grand jury, obtained stolen bank cards that had been issued by Bank of America and recruited Williams as a “shopper.” The role of the shopper was to use the victims’ identification information and stolen bank cards to buy gift cards and other merchandise. Williams, working with the co-conspirator, allegedly obtained the dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other means of identification of unknowing victims. She allegedly used this information and the stolen bank cards to fraudulently buy at least $243,029.78 worth of store gift cards and merchandise from Target, Walgreens, Walmart, and other stores in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. It is further alleged that Williams and the co-conspirator obtained and possessed bank cards that had been stolen from a Pitney-Bowes distribution center in Reading, Pennsylvania. The co-conspirator allegedly paid Williams for her work by giving her cash equal to a portion of the value of the gift cards or other merchandise she purchased in each store.

If convicted, Williams faces a total statutory maximum of 47 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $2.75 million, and a $700 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laurie Magid.

Click here to view the indictment

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Updated December 15, 2014