Hasan Howard, 23, of Cleveland, was sentenced on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi to more than six years in prison and ordered to pay $261,319.28 in restitution after he pleaded guilty to leading a conspiracy that bought stolen credit and debit card information from the dark web and used it to purchase expensive watches, chains, jewelry and services at retail locations around Northeast Ohio.
Howard pleaded guilty in March 2022 to conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, from September to May 2020, Howard recruited a number of coconspirators in Cleveland and elsewhere, including codefendants Robert Nathaniel Andre Thomas, Tyvione Guthery and Jaelen D. Lattimore, to participate in a scheme that bought stolen credit and debit card information from the dark web and used it to purchase expensive jewelry and services at retail locations around Northeast Ohio.
As part of the conspiracy, Howard used the stolen financial information to create fraudulent credit and debit cards, which he then provided to his coconspirators. Howard and the others would then use the cards to make purchases of expensive merchandise and services, including jewelry. Howard and the coconspirators purchased the items either over the phone or in-store, using fraudulent identification cards embossed with the stolen information of others.
In one instance, court documents state that Howard, Guthery and Lattimore purchased a Rolex watch from a jewelry store in Westlake, Ohio, valued at $19,062 using a fraudulent credit card. In a separate instance, court records show that Howard again used a fraudulent credit card to purchase four diamond and gold bracelets from a jewelry store in Canton, Ohio, valued at $26,463.
After obtaining the jewelry, Howard frequently sold the stolen items to others and used the proceeds for his own benefit and to pay his coconspirators.
Howard was arrested on May 20, 2021, with codefendant Lattimore, after purchasing more than $20,000 in items from jewelers in Aurora, Ohio. At the time of the arrest, court documents state that Howard and Lattimore had in their possession a credit card embossing machine and three Rolex watches.
In total, court records show that Howard and the other coconspirators made fraudulent purchases at approximately 30 stores and caused a total loss of $261,319.28.
Codefendants Thomas, Guthery and Lattimore have each pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI Cleveland and the Avon, Westlake, Aurora and Cleveland Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryson N. Gillard.