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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 15, 2013

Syracuse Man Enters Guilty Plea To Credit Card Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft And Possession Of A Firearm

RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York announces that KAREEM HIGHSMITH (37, of Syracuse, New York) entered a guilty plea to an indictment charging him with access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(1), and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. KAREEM HIGHSMITH also entered a guilty plea to a separate indictment charging him with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1).

On June 13, 2011, KAREEM HIGHSMITH used a counterfeit access device to make purchases at Wegmans in Fayetteville, New York, and at Price Chopper in Syracuse, New York. Specifically, HIGHSMITH used a counterfeit credit card to make purchases using a re-encoded card issued to another person by American Express. Between June 9, 2011 and June 13, 2011, HIGHSMITH used this counterfeit credit card to make purchases totaling approximately $5,000.00 in the Syracuse area. On February 13, 2012, HIGHSMITH possessed on his computer at his residence 399 credit card account numbers that belonged to other persons. The defendant also possessed at his residence equipment used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards and a Kimber .45 caliber pistol.

The defendant is facing a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 2 years, a term of supervised release of up to 3 years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.00. The sentencing is scheduled for June 17, 2013 in Syracuse, NY.

These arrests followed a lengthy investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service, Syracuse Resident Office, the Syracuse Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Manlius Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ransom P. Reynolds. Further questions may be directed to Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan at (315) 448-0672.

Updated January 29, 2015