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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 20, 2017

Two South Florida Men Plead Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Wilbert Theodore (30, Miami) and Ralph August Lohier (27, Miami) have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge, to be followed by a consecutive mandatory minimum of 2 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft charge. As part of the plea agreement, both agreed to forfeit computer media and a credit card re-encoder utilized as part of their criminal activity.

According to the plea agreement, in 2016, Lohier and Theodore conspired with another individual in south Florida to obtain debit cards that had been re-encoded with legitimate account numbers assigned to genuine individuals. In doing so, Lohier was able to obtain fraudulent cards with Lohier’s name embossed on them. Another portion of the cards were embossed with the name C.S. Thereafter, Theodore obtained a counterfeit Florida Driver’s License in the name of C.S. After obtaining the cards and the counterfeit license, Lohier and Theodore traveled from south Florida to various places, including Flagler and Orange Counties, using the cards. They then purchased merchandise, funded reloadable debit cards, sent and received multiple money transfers through Western Union.

On March 8, 2016, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper conducted a traffic stop on I-95 in Flagler County, being driven by Lohier, with Theodore inside. During the stop, the trooper located the counterfeit driver’s license in the name of C.S., but containing a picture of Theodore. While detained in the trooper’s vehicle, Theodore and Lohier attempted to conceal a large quantity of re-encoded reloadable Visa debit cards within the rear section of the vehicle.

A search of Lohier’s vehicle revealed an additional quantity of re-encoded, reloaded debit cards in the name of the Lohier and C.S. Law enforcement also recovered computer media and a credit card re-encoder from the vehicle. Further investigation determined that Lohier and Theodore possessed 86 re-encoded cards.

This case was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol and the United States Secret Service - Jacksonville Field Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
StopFraud
Component(s): 
Updated January 23, 2017