Two People Charged In Scheme To Steal 94,000 Debit And Credit Cards From Michaels’ Stores In 19 States
NEWARK, N.J. – Two people were charged today for allegedly participating in a large-scale conspiracy to steal 94,000 credit and debit cards from customers at approximately 80 Michaels’ Stores in 19 states and then use that information to make fraudulent withdrawals from the customers’ bank accounts.
Angel Angulo, 25, of Riverside, California, and Crystal Banuelos, 28, of Bloomington, California, are each charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Agnulo was arrested in California and was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bristow in Riverside federal court. Banuelos remains at large.
According to the indictment:
Angulo, Banuelos, and others allegedly installed on point of sale (POS) terminals at Michaels devices that acquired customers’ bank account and personal identification number (PIN) information. The stolen account information was used to produce counterfeit bank cards, which were used with the stolen PINs to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts.
The conspirators allegedly replaced 88 POS terminals in 80 different stores operated by Michaels across 19 states, including New Jersey, with counterfeit POS devices. Each counterfeit device was equipped with wireless technology, which the conspirators used to retrieve the stolen information. From February 2011 to April 2011, conspirators stole approximately 94,000 debit and credit card account numbers.
From April 2011 to May 2011, Angulo, Banuelos and others obtained counterfeit cards with the corresponding PIN numbers written on them from other conspirators. They used the cards and PIN numbers to withdraw money from automated teller machines (ATMs) from hundreds of bank accounts. On May 14, 2011, Angulo and Banuelos possessed 179 counterfeit cards in New Jersey. They allegedly stole more than $420,000 from financial institutions and attempted to obtain at least $129,000 more.
The charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory penalty of two years in prison served consecutively to any other sentence.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge David Beach in Philadelphia for the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless proven guilty.