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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Third Defendant Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Possession of Counterfeit Credit Cards

BOISE – Rafael Perez, 31, of Guaymas, Mexico, pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of wire fraud and one count of possession of fifteen or more counterfeit credit cards, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreement, Perez and his co-defendants, Javier Miranda-Molina and Irving Gonzalez-Bocanegra, were present and traveling together in Boise on March 31, 2015, for the purpose of using counterfeit credit cards to make fraudulent purchases of merchandise and gift cards.  The defendants engaged in a number of transactions, at a variety of stores, using credit cards the defendants knew to be counterfeit.  The defendants fraudulently obtained merchandise valued at approximately $5,117.63.

Prior to arriving in Boise, on March 29 and 30, 2015, the defendants engaged in similar fraudulent transactions in Montana and obtained merchandise valued at approximately $8,184.01.

When arrested in Boise, the defendants were working together to package and ship a variety of merchandise purchased with counterfeit credit cards, such as GoPro Hero 4 Cameras, Samsung Galaxy Nooks, and video game systems.  They had in their joint possession a number of counterfeit credit cards.  These included:  approximately eighty-four counterfeit credit cards taped into the pages of a magazine; three counterfeit credit cards recovered from the trash, and three counterfeit credit cards found in the driver’s side door pocket of their rental car.  Each of these counterfeit cards contained one of the defendant’s names embossed on the front of the card and a real but unauthorized account number encoded to the magnetic strip on the back of the card.  Perez agreed to the forfeiture of, and to abandon any interest in, all credit cards, gift cards, merchandise, and other items seized at his arrest.

The defendants were charged with wire fraud because all of the described transactions resulted in wire communications that were foreseeable to the defendants, in particular, interstate transmissions by wire of information from the point of sale terminals in the stores to the credit card payment processers and to the account-issuing banks located in different states.

“This case demonstrates how federal and local law enforcement cooperate with Idaho businesses to protect business integrity and consumer confidence from the costs and victimization imposed by fraud,” said Olson.

Wire fraud is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to twenty years, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, a maximum fine of $250,000.00, and a special assessment of $100.  Possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, a maximum fine of $250,000.00, and a special assessment of $100.

Perez’s sentencing is set before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise on October 29, 2015.

Co-defendant Javier Miranda-Molina, 22 of Sonora, Mexico, pleaded guilty on August 4, 2015 and is set for a sentencing hearing on October 14, 2015.  Co-defendant Irving Gonzalez-Bocanegra, 25, of Hermosillo, Mexico pleaded guilty on August 6, 2015 and is set for sentencing on October 27, 2015.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Boise Police Department.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated August 11, 2015