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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for Defrauding Amtrak, Trailways of More Than $475,000

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

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Korey Wise was sentenced today to 51 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release by United States District Judge Nitza Alejandro Quinones for defrauding Amtrak and Trailways Transportation Systems of approximately $475,910. Wise was also ordered to pay full restitution of that sum.

On May 17, 2023, defendant Wise, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft before United States District Judge Edwardo C. Robreno.     

From January 2014 through May 2017, Wise devised a scheme in which he made telephone calls to individuals and small business owners located throughout the country. During these calls, he pretended to be a representative of a utility company, calling to collect an overdue bill or an official from a licensing board that oversaw nail salons. Wise falsely told the business owner that the business owed an inspection fee and if the fee was paid over the telephone with a credit card, the fee would be less. Unbeknownst to the victims, he then used the credit card information he collected to purchase travel reservations on carriers, including Amtrak and Trailways Transportation Systems, and then resold those reservations for profit.

The investigation revealed that Wise victimized individuals and small business owners, who spoke English as a second language, throughout the country. He fraudulently obtained the credit card information of three victims located in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at the time of his calls. Wise falsely told these three victims, who each owned nail salons, that he was from the Cosmetology Board and the Board was planning an inspection of their salon. He told each victim that he or she could prepay the fee with a credit card. Without their knowledge and authorization, Wise used their respective credit cards to purchase reservations from Trailways Transportation Systems in various amounts.

“Korey Wise defrauded Amtrak and Trailways of nearly half a million dollars, using the stolen identities of innocent people to do so,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “It’s despicable that he specifically targeted victims for whom English may have been a second language, hoping they’d be easier to exploit. My office and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold financial fraudsters like Wise accountable for their crimes.”

The case was investigated by the Amtrak Police Department, the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terri A. Marinari.

Updated January 31, 2024

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft