ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Chinese national residing in Washington, D.C. yesterday on charges of conspiracy, access device fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Qinbin Chen, 29, masterminded a criminal conspiracy that obtained, trafficked, used, and laundered gift cards and debit cards purchased by victims, who were mostly elderly, from across the United States. The victims were manipulated into buying Walmart gift cards by fraudsters who told the victims a range of lies, such as their social security numbers had been compromised, their bank accounts had been hacked, or there was an issue with their computer software. The victims sent the gift cards to fraudsters who soon transferred them to Chen. Chen employed conspirators to use the Walmart gift cards to buy other gift cards. Chen then sold those “clean” gift cards to overseas buyers. Though Chen reported little legitimate income, his bank accounts showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in incoming international wires. Evidence at trial suggested that Chen trafficked about $7 million in fraudulently obtained gift cards.
Chen faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 18. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Chen is the seventh defendant convicted as part of this investigation. Co-conspirators He Li, 45; Shouming Sun, 44; Jin Hong, 40; Yuchen Zhang, 26; Mouluan Wu, 47; and Zhizhan Chen, 26, have pleaded guilty to related charges.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Javan S Wilson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of the Inspector General, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. accepted the verdict.
The Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office also assisted in the prosecution of Chen.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Hood and Kenneth R. Simon, Jr. are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-216.