United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Felix Pena, 34, of Bronx, New York, was sentenced today in Omaha, Nebraska, by Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Pena was sentenced to 60 months in prison and will also serve 3 years on supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Additionally, Pena was ordered to pay $404,069 in restitution.
This case began in 2017 when Pena, along with others, conspired and agreed together to devise a scheme to defraud Verizon Wireless. Members of the conspiracy did so by acquiring stolen identities of real United States citizens including at least three individuals from Nebraska. The conspiracy members would use the victims’ information to create Verizon accounts. Once accounts were created, they would purchase cellphones and accessories that would be billed to the accounts, causing financial loss to Verizon and potential credit damage to the individual whose identity was used. Once purchased, the phones would be shipped back to New York or New Jersey where they would be sold on the black market. In February of 2019, two of the conspirators were arrested after attempting to purchase cellphones using the stolen identity of a Nebraska resident in Kearney, Nebraska thus beginning the investigation of this matter.
Pena’s main role in the conspiracy was to run credit reports for the stolen identities so they could determine the credit worthiness of the victim whose identity was being used to open a Verizon account. Pena would also distribute money to the other members of the conspiracy for their roles in the conspiracy. Pursuant to the scheme, Verizon Wireless suffered a loss of $528,002.33.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Kearney Police Department.
Michael Norris, Criminal Chief (402) 661-3700