California Resident Receives 33 Months in ID Theft Case
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces today that United States District Judge William H. Steele sentenced Eddie Garcia, 33, a resident of Kern County, California, to 33 months imprisonment in an identification theft case. The judge ordered that Garcia undergo three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, receive substance abuse treatment, and pay a $200 mandatory special assessment. Garcia has an extensive criminal history, which includes offenses involving theft, burglary, and narcotics.
On March 31, 2016, K.Q. tried to buy items using a payment card. When the card was denied, K.Q. called The First, a Mississippi-based bank, to determine why the card was not working. The bank said that someone (later determined to be Garcia) had used a card issued to K.Q. at the Cougar Oil gas station in Foley, Alabama and had also bought something from Google. Both charges occurred on March 31, 2016 and were successful. Moreover, the bank told K.Q. that someone had tried (unsuccessfully) to use the card at Wendy’s in Foley and had also tried (unsuccessfully) to use the card at the Magnolia Springs Speedway gas station. K.Q. had never received the card in question in the mail and suspected it was taken from K.Q.’s mailbox and unlawfully activated. The First issued the payment card to K.Q. on March 23. Since the card contained a chip, whomever called to activate the card presumably knew K.Q.’s social security number.
Investigators determined that from around March 2016 through around April 2016, Garcia schemed to defraud K.Q. for his own personal gain. Garcia fraudulently obtained and opened mail not belonging to him, including a letter sent by Capitol One to K.Q. dated March 25, 2016. As part of his scheme, Garcia fraudulently possessed and used K.Q.’s payment card without K.Q.’s knowledge or authorization. For example, around April 1, 2016 Garcia used the card to engage in a financial transaction for around $50.80 at Walmart in Foley, Alabama. Video surveillance obtained from Walmart showed Garcia swiping the stolen card in an attempt to purchase a pre-paid telephone card. The charge was eventually declined.
On October 26, 2017, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama indicted Garcia on three counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of postal theft. On February 15, 2018, Garcia pleaded guilty before Judge Steele to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Sinan Kalayoglu prosecuted the case.