Towson Man Sentenced to Over 6 Years in Federal Prison for Two Separate Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Schemes
Second Fraud Committed While Awaiting Sentencing On First Scheme
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III, sentenced Jerry Anderson, age 31, of Towson, Maryland, today to 76 months in prison, followed by six years of supervised release for two separate bank fraud and aggravated identity theft schemes in which Anderson and others used counterfeit credit cards to make fraudulent purchases. Anderson executed the second scheme while he was awaiting sentencing on the previous fraud conviction. Judge Russell also ordered Anderson to pay restitution of $419,807.14, in the first scheme and restitution of $1,289.23 in the second scheme.
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 James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to his plea agreements, on April 7, 2015, Anderson pleaded guilty to conspiring with co-defendants, Zachary O’Brien, Steven Harris, Marquis Johnson, and Steven Tejeda, as well as others, to use stolen credit card and other personal information of customers of victim financial institutions to purchase items, including Apple iPhones, at retail locations in Maryland and elsewhere. The total actual loss resulting from the conspiracy, which operated from at least February to October 2014, was $419,807.14, and the potential loss was over $1.8 million. The conspiracy involved over 250 victims.
After his guilty plea, Anderson was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. One of the conditions of his release was that he not commit any new crimes. Anderson admitted that on June 25, 2015, he purchased four $100 American Express gift cards at a store in Cockeysville, Maryland, using a Visa credit card. Store surveillance depicts Anderson making these purchases. The Visa credit card used in the transaction belongs to “G.B.” After being contacted by law enforcement, the victim advised that that a fraud alert had been placed on the account and that the charges on June 25, 2015 were fraudulent. The victim further advised that he did not give permission to any individual to possess or use his credit card.
On July 3, 2015, Anderson was seen by Apple Loss Prevention at an Apple Store in Bethesda, Maryland, purchasing two iPhones totaling $1,375.88 using a combination of gift cards. Specifically, Anderson used the American Express gift cards he fraudulently purchased on June 25, 2015, along with other gift cards, to purchase the phones. The total actual loss as a result of Anderson’s conduct was $1,389.23. On July 8, 2015, Anderson was ordered to be detained pending sentencing.
Co-defendants Steven Tejeda, age 22, of Richmond, Virginia, Zachary O’Brien, age 32, and Steven Harris, age 25, both of Bronx, New York, previously pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to four years in prison. Marquis Johnson, age 22, of Severna Park, Maryland, and Ronnie Mejia, age 26, of Bronx, New York, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and are scheduled to be sentenced on August 8, 2016 and August 19, 2016, respectively.
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 efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 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 the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service, Baltimore County Police Department, and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ayn B. Ducao and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case.