Tampa Residents Sentenced To Federal Prison For Roles In Fraudulent Credit Card Ring
TAMPA, FL - U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington sentenced Tampa residents Juan Miranda Amores (44) and Yudelkis Portes (31) for credit card fraud and identity theft. Miranda Amores was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison. Portes was sentenced to five years in federal prison. The court also ordered both Miranda Amores and Portes to forfeit $59,897.84 each, the proceeds of the credit card fraud.
Miranda Amores pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on October 5, 2012. Portes pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on October 22, 2012. Another co-defendant, Ireanaldo Larrondo-Berrera, pleaded guilty on November 12, 2012. A sentencing hearing is scheduled on May 9, 2013.
According to court documents, from at least mid- 2010, through at least July 2011, Miranda Amores and Portes knowingly joined and engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to commit credit card or access device fraud and bank fraud using stolen identities. In December 2010, a detective from the Kokomo, Indiana Police Department contacted a detective from the Tampa Police Department (TPD) regarding a case of counterfeit credit cards. According to the Indiana detective, more than 16 accounts at the Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union had been compromised and many fraudulent charges to these accounts came from Tampa, specifically from various Walgreens stores. The TPD detective recovered surveillance video from the stores. Miranda Amores, as well as Larrondo-Berrera and Portes were identified as the individuals on video using stolen and/or counterfeit credit and debit cards.
TPD obtained a spreadsheet of fraudulent transactions that Solidarity had identified as occurring in the Tampa area. The records showed that Miranda Amores, Portes and their coconspirators used stolen and counterfeit credit cards to make many small purchases, often at the same time, in order to avoid detection. The co-conspirators traveled to multiple retail establishments in the same area to make consecutive purchases. Most often, they purchased gift cards with the stolen credit or debit card numbers. The co-conspirators used stolen credit and debit card numbers from victims without their knowledge, most of whom lived out of state.
In total, law enforcement identified more than a dozen financial institutions and retailers, including Sears, Macy's and JC Penney, who were defrauded by Miranda Amores, Portes and their conspirators for a total actual loss of $59,897.84. The government estimates the intended loss (based upon the credit limits of the stolen, counterfeit and unauthorized credit cards) amounts to be approximately $521,914.73. Law enforcement also identified more than 50 victims of identity theft as a result of this scheme.
This case was investigated by the Tampa Police Department, the United States Secret Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.