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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 28, 2019

Man Sentenced for Fraud Conspiracy and Identity Theft

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A New York man was sentenced today to four and a half years in prison for acquiring and using stolen personal information, including thousands of payment card numbers.

According to court documents, from October 2016 through September 2018, Merlin Laguerre, 31, and his co-conspirators, committed various acts of fraud that resulted in at least $1.3 million in real or intended loss. Members of the conspiracy acquired thousands of stolen payment card numbers, primarily transmitting this account information via email and text messages. Laguerre and members of the conspiracy enriched themselves by using the stolen payment card numbers to make fraudulent purchases, and, at times, did so via the contactless payment features of smartphones. Some of the items fraudulently purchased during the conspiracy included merchandise at retail stores located within the Eastern District of Virginia.

Court documents also indicate that Laguerre tried to aid further acts of fraud even after he was taken into federal custody. In particular, Laguerre used a telephone while detained to provide another person with assistance in navigating websites dedicated to trafficking stolen payment card information. 

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Charles Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and M. Jay Farr, Chief of Police, Arlington County Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander P. Berrang and Laura Fong prosecuted the case.

The Henrico County Police Department provided significant assistance during this investigation.

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. 1:19-cr-15.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated June 28, 2019