Member of Counterfeit Credit Card Ring Sentenced to Four Years in Prison
Over 250 Victim Individuals and Institutions Sustained Losses or Had Their Identities Stolen
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Jason Evans, age 32, of Millsboro, Delaware, today to four years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, arising from the use of stolen credit and debit cards to manufacture counterfeit credit cards used to buy merchandise and services. Judge Quarles also entered an order that Evans pay restitution of $126,318.99, the amount of the actual loss to victims.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; Chief Gary Gardner of the Howard County Police Department; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Chief Ross C. Buzzuro of the Ocean City Police Department; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Newport News Police Chief Richard W. Myers; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to his plea agreement, co-defendant Michael Crew had an embossing machine, and made credit cards using altered gift cards and the credit card and debit card numbers stolen from others. The stolen credit card account numbers were obtained from a variety of sources. Once a valid number was obtained, Evans and his co-conspirators would use those numbers to derive other valid numbers, which they would confirm by calling customer service for the issuing financial institution. These numbers were used to manufacture counterfeit access devices bearing the stolen credit and debit card account numbers. The counterfeit access devices were then used to make unauthorized purchases of goods and services.
In the fall of 2012, Crew’s embossing machine broke. Crew asked Evans to help him get it fixed or replaced. Ultimately, Evans, Crew and another member of the conspiracy traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to obtain another embosser and pick up the repaired embosser. Evans kept the repaired embosser as a backup initially. He used it to make counterfeit credit cards for himself and another co-conspirator.
On March 21, 2013, a search warrant was executed at Evan’s residence. Law enforcement seized the embosser, counterfeit gift cards bearing stolen credit card numbers, computers, notes with credit card account information, and a list of credit card numbers.
During the conspiracy from March 2012 through the arrest of the final defendants on June 7, 2014, Evans and his co-conspirators accessed or attempted to access credit card accounts with credit limits of between $400,000 and $1 million, using the financial account numbers of real people. More than 250 individuals and institutions were defrauded by the scheme.
Michael Crew, age 55, of Owings Mills, Maryland, was sentenced to nine years in prison after Crew pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Four other defendants have pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme and await sentencing.
The Maryland Identity Theft Working Group has been working since 2006 to foster cooperation among local, state, federal, and institutional fraud investigators and to promote effective prosecution of identity theft schemes by both state and federal prosecutors. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Working Group, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to work with financial institutions and businesses to address identity fraud, identify those who compromise personal identity information, and protect citizens from identity theft.
Today’s announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service; Howard County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Ocean City and Newport News Police Departments, HSI Ocean City and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tamera L. Fine, who prosecuted the case.