Member of “Traveling Group” of Fraudsters
BOISE — Brandt Stewart, 29, of Southfield, Michigan, pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The defendant appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush at the federal courthouse in Boise. Sentencing is set for April 28, 2015, before Chief United States District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
According to the plea agreement, Brandt Stewart, co-defendants Myron Pardon and Matthew Lane and others, were part of a “traveling group” from the Detroit, Michigan area that traveled to southern Idaho in December 2013 and February 2014, to make purchases at large “box stores” using counterfeit credit cards. Stewart knowingly and with intent to defraud used counterfeit credit cards to purchase “general use” charge cards at ten stores in Twin Falls, Boise and Meridian causing losses in the amount of $4,105.43. Some of the credit cards fraudulently used by Stewart belonged to actual account holders, thus constituting aggravated identity theft.
Stewart, Pardon and Lane were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 9, 2014. Co- defendant Pardon has pleaded guilty to similar charges and will be sentenced on February 2, 2015, before Judge B. Lynn Winmill. Trial is currently set for February 2, 2015, for co-defendant Lane at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The charge of fraudulent use of a credit card carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison with a mandatory minimum penalty of not less than two years in prison consecutive to the penalty imposed for other counts.
“Vigorous prosecution of those who travel here to carry out schemes to defraud Idaho citizens and businesses is a priority of this United States Attorney’s Office,” said Olson. “My office will work effectively and aggressively with local police departments and federal law enforcement agencies to put a quick end to these schemes.”
The case is the result of a joint investigation result of the Boise Police Department, United States Secret Service, and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).