California Residents Indicted For Retail Fraud Scheme
BOISE - Arleen Cifuentes, 31, of Riverside, California, and Rocio Contreras-Loya, 40, of Sante Fe Springs, California, made their initial appearance today on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Cifuentes and Contreras-Loya were indicted on September 9, 2014, by a federal grand jury in Boise. Trial is set for November 11, 2014, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The Indictment charges the defendants with devising a scheme to defraud retail stores in Idaho by materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, by fraudulently using the personal identifying information of unknowing third party victims to apply for and receive credit accounts through the retail stores. The Indictment alleges that the defendants obtained the personal identifying information of the victims, ran credit checks on them, then created false identifications purportedly from California with the victim's information and the defendants' photos. The defendants are alleged to have applied for, and received, credit accounts from several Boise-area department stores in the names of the victims, then utilized the credit accounts to make purchases of merchandise and gift cards. The Indictment alleges the credit application process, as well as the merchandise purchases, resulted in an interstate wire transmission. A third defendant, Ivan Fonseca, 30, of Richmond, California, remains a fugitive.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory two years in prison, to be served consecutively to the sentence imposed for the underlying felony. Possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by Boise Police Department and the United States Secret Service.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.