California Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft for Retail Fraud Scheme
BOISE – Arleen Gadrina Cifuentes, 31, of Riverside, California, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Sentencing is set for April 27, 2015, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
Cifuentes was indicted, along with Rocio Contreras-Loya, 40, of Sante Fe Springs, California, and Ivan Fonseca, 30, of Richmond, California, in September 2014, for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of 15or more unauthorized access devices. According to the plea agreement, Cifuentes engaged in a retail scheme between July 2013 and July 2014, whereby she defrauded retail stores by applying for, and obtaining, credit accounts in the identities of unknowing third party victims. Cifuentes then used the credit accounts to fraudulently purchase merchandise and gift cards. Cifuentes admitted obtaining victim identification information from a third party, running credit reports on the victims, and obtaining California driver's licenses in the victims' names, containing her photo, or a photo of her co-defendants. Cifuentes admitted that she and her co-defendants executed the scheme on at least 15 occasions in the District of Idaho. Cifuentes and Contreras-Loya were arrested shortly after executing the scheme at the Boise Town Square Mall.
Wire Fraud is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, and a $100 special assessment. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years, a term of supervised release of not more than one year, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a special assessment of $100. As part of her plea, Cifuentes also agreed to forfeit $26,777.13 in cash proceeds of the charged offenses.
Co-defendant Rocio Contreras-Loya is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on January 30, 2015. Co-defendant Ivan Fonseca remains a fugitive.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Boise Police Department.