Albuquerque Couple Sentenced on Wire Fraud Convictions Arising Out of Scheme to Defraud Office Supply Business
Defendants Also Ordered to Pay $96,000 in Restitution to Office Max/Office Depot and to Forfeit $105,191 to the United States
ALBUQUERQUE – Matthew Channon, 39, and his wife Brandi Channon, 37, both of Albuquerque, N.M., were sentenced today for their convictions on conspiracy and wire fraud charges arising out of a sophisticated scheme to defraud an office supply business out of more than $100,000. Matthew Channon was sentenced to a year and a day of imprisonment to be followed by two years of supervised release. Brandi Channon was sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service. The Channons also were ordered jointly to forfeit $105,191 to the United States, and to pay $96,000 in restitution to Office Max/Office Depot, the business that was the victim of the Channons’ criminal conduct.
The Channons were charged with conspiracy and wire fraud charges in a seven-count indictment filed in March 2013. In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment charged Matthew Channon with four counts of wire fraud and Brandi Channon with two counts of wire fraud. According to the indictment, the Channons perpetuated a scheme to defraud OfficeMax by using interstate wire communications to create numerous MaxPerk Rewards accounts in fictitious names to avoid OfficeMax’s policy of issuing only one account per person. The couple then used the accounts to fraudulently claim rewards from OfficeMax to which they were not entitled. The indictment alleged that the scheme continued from Aug. 2009 through June 2011, during which time the Channons fraudulently obtained MaxPerk Rewards certificates valued at more than $105,000.00.
The Channons were convicted on all seven counts in the indictment on Jan. 22, 2016, after a seven-day jury trial. The evidence at trial established that the Channons conspired to defraud OfficeMax by fraudulently creating more than 5000 MaxPerk Rewards accounts in the names of fictitious people. The couple went online and used the fraudulent accounts to falsely claim rewards-program credit for purchases that other customers had in fact made. The Channons falsely claimed that they engaged in more than 60,000 transactions with OfficeMax involving almost $2,000,000.00 worth of purchases, in over 300 stores located in over 20 states. As a result of their fraudulent conduct, the Channons defrauded OfficeMax of more than $100,000 worth of property.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margaret M. Vierbuchen, Holland S. Kastrin and C. Paige Messec.