United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Edgar Ivulans, 43, of Latvia, was sentenced today to five years and five months in prison, and was ordered to pay $12,754 in restitution, to forfeit $12,754, and to further pay a $4,000 special assessment by United States District Judge R. Barclay Surrick for operating a fraud scheme utilizing the stolen identities of U.S. citizens. The defendant, a Latvian citizen who was arrested in Germany and successfully extradited to the United States to face the charges in this case, operated the fraud scheme from his home in Latvia.
In June 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to a 40-count Indictment charging one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; 13 counts of wire fraud; 14 counts of mail fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud; one count of production, trafficking in, and possession of device-making equipment; one count of production of counterfeit access devices; five counts of money laundering; and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
Ivulans had previously lived in the United States but was deported to his native Latvia after sustaining two fraud convictions in federal court in Illinois. Ivulans’ deportation and residency in Latvia did not stop him from operating the sophisticated fraud scheme in this case. As part of the scheme, Ivulans used stolen identities of U.S. residents to obtain credit cards in their names, which he sent to a co-conspirator based in Philadelphia, who in turn used the fraudulently opened credit cards to buy merchandise that was then sold or returned for cash. The Philadelphia-based co-conspirator would then wire the funds to other co-conspirators in Russia, or first to co-conspirators in Ireland and then to the defendant. Ivulans, while in Latvia, also created additional counterfeit credit cards using the U.S. victims’ credit card information, and sent the Philadelphia-based co-conspirator a magnetic stripe card reader, which was used to create new counterfeit credit cards that the co-conspirator used to purchase pre-paid debit cards and other goods. That merchandise was then shipped to more co-conspirators in Sweden and Ukraine, and directly to the defendant. When Latvian authorities, working in conjunction with the FBI, searched Ivulans’ home in Latvia, over 12,000 credit card numbers were found on his computer, along with at least ten full identity profiles of U.S. residents.
“Identity theft crimes like these have a devastating and long-lasting impact on the victims,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Ivulans’ crimes are especially offensive because he committed them after sustaining other fraud convictions resulting in his deportation. Our Office will continue to do everything we can to ensure that such fraud scams are stopped and punished, whether the fraudsters are located here or abroad.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyWilliams on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.