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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2018

Man Sentenced For $9 Million Credit Card Refund Scheme

RICHMOND, Va. – A man who led a $9 million nationwide credit card fraud scheme was sentenced today to 10 years in prison.

According to court documents, Michael Cooper, 30, of Orlando, Florida, owned and operated several different entities for the sole purpose of defrauding credit card customers, credit card companies, and various Internet service companies by obtaining refunds of money paid by credit card customers to these Internet service companies. Between 2012 and 2016, Cooper and employees of his entities, Homeland Arbitration LLC, Smith Associates, P.A., and Cohen Associates, LLP, targeted Internet service companies that offered to assist individuals in setting up or managing an Internet presence for their small business. Cooper and his employees located former clients of these companies and misrepresented that they worked at a law firm, provided legal services, and conducted “arbitration” to recover money credit card customers previously paid to the Internet service companies. Unbeknownst to these credit card customers, Cooper and his employees then impersonated these individuals in phone calls and written communications with the individual’s credit card companies, and fabricated contracts and other documents to obtain refunds on their behalf. Cooper charged his clients 40 percent of any amount recovered on their behalf. In total, Cooper and his employees obtained more than $9 million in fraudulent refunds from at least 76 different businesses.

In addition to Cooper, the following four individuals who were employed by Cooper have pleaded guilty to offenses arising from their unlawful participation in the credit card refund scheme described above:

Name, Age

City, State

Convictions

Sentencing Date

Dustin Lee Faulkner, 24

Orlando, FL

Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud

June 12

Ashley R. Davis, 34

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud

June 12

Gustavo Carvajal, 28

Coral Springs, FL

Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud

July 12

Michael E. Gordon, 29

Jacksonville, FL

Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud

August 3

 

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, Kelly R. Jackson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Joseph Cronin, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Lee Martin and Thomas A. Garnett prosecuted 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 is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:17-cr-124.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated June 11, 2018