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Press Release

Canadian Man Sentenced to Lengthy Federal Prison Sentence for Scheme to Operate Illicit Online Gift Card Marketplace

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr.  announced that Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced Richard Verret, age 41, of Quebec, Canada, to 57 months in federal prison following his conviction for operating a scheme to sell more than 500,000 stolen gift card account numbers over the internet.  The Court also ordered Verret to forfeit more than $810,000 in proceeds from his crime.

In March 2022, after a multi-year investigation into Verret’s online criminal activity, a federal grand jury in Baton Rouge returned a six-count indictment charging Verret with the unauthorized solicitation of access devices and trafficking counterfeit access devices.  On April 7, 2022, Verret was arrested at the Orlando International Airport after arriving in the United States from Canada.  He was later transported to the Middle District of Louisiana to face the charges.

In September 2022, Verret pled guilty to the unauthorized solicitation of access devices.  As he admitted in connection with his guilty plea, from 2018 through early 2022, he operated a series of websites, such as the “Lux Giftcards Shop” and “Miami’s Gift Card Shop,” through which he advertised the sale of gift cards for major restaurant chains, grocery stores, entertainment venues, and other retail business chains (collectively, the “businesses”).  Many of the businesses whose gift cards were advertised on Verret’s websites had locations across Louisiana.

According to admissions made during his plea, Verret would use fraudulent methods and theft to obtain large quantities of valid gift card account numbers.  Then, using various means to conceal his identity and avoid detection, Verret would sell the account numbers over the internet, offering the numbers for sale at steep discounts.  Upon placing an order, a purchaser would generally receive instructions via e-mail directing him or her to send payment to a PayPal account controlled by the defendant, and after doing so, the purchaser would receive an e-mail containing account numbers for the gift cards that he or she had just purchased.

As of late February 2022, Verret’s then-current website offered more than 550,000 gift cards to more than 500 different businesses, and the total stored value of all of the fraudulently obtained accounts offered for sale was more than $22 million.  The site advertised that it was adding more gift cards “every week.” 

At today’s sentencing, Chief Judge Dick sentenced Verret to serve 57 months in federal prison and forfeit $812,893.60.  In the event that Verret is deported from the United States following the completion of his federal prison sentence, he will be barred from re-entering the United States absent advance, formal approval.  In addition, in connection with this case, the United States has also seized two of the domain names used by Verret in furtherance of his criminal activity, “” and

U.S. Attorney Gathe stated, “This case is a prime example of the length criminals are prepared to go to defraud victims.  This scheme, if not caught, was well on its way to surpassing record gains for the defendant and record loss that injures both the purchaser and the advertised companies.  Thank you to my entire team who worked with not only our local federal, city and state partners but also international partners as well.  This should be a lesson to us all to be more cautious with providing our account information online.  Please protect yourself by doing your research and if something seems suspicious or questionable, please notify the local authorities.”

This matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—Homeland Security Investigations, in close collaboration with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.  The investigation received substantial assistance from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Quebec Police Department.  The matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who also serves as Senior Litigation Counsel, and Assistant United States Attorneys Brad Casey and Harley W. Ferguson.

Updated June 26, 2023

Financial Fraud