Four People Charged in Stolen Identity Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme Targeting Banks and COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Funds
On April 11, 2016, Robert Diaz, a resident of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. On April 12, 2016, Maritza Conde Moreno, a resident of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 74 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert C. Hutchinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and Tony Pustizzi, Chief, Coral Springs Police Department, made the announcement.
Diaz and Moreno each plead guilty on January 28, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b)(2), one count of possession of fifteen or more counterfeit access devices, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3) and 2, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2.
According to court documents, in or around August and September 2013, numerous unauthorized purchases were made using fraudulent credit cards at BJ’s Wholesale (BJ’s) in Hialeah Gardens, Florida. Surveillance video captured Diaz, among others, making these fraudulent purchases. On February 2, 2014, a BJ’s employee recognized Diaz in the store and notified the Hialeah Gardens Police Department. Officers arrived at the location and conducted a traffic stop, resulting in Diaz and Moreno being taken into custody. An inventory search was conducted of their vehicle and a bag containing 78 counterfeit credit cards and numerous receipts from BJ’s and Home Depot were found on the floorboard.
Beginning on or around April 2014 through on or around July 2014, at a Home Depot in Coral Springs, Florida, Diaz, Moreno, and co-defendant Jose Luis Conde Varela used counterfeit credit cards in self-checkout lines to make unauthorized purchases.
On October 22, 2015, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence of Diaz and Moreno and, pursuant to a complaint, arrested Diaz, Moreno and Varela. As a result of the search of the residence, law enforcement uncovered, among other things, over 4,993 stolen credit card numbers, 311 fraudulent credit cards and a credit card encoder. In addition, at the time of his arrest, Diaz was in possession of a flash drive with 484 stolen credit card numbers.
Co-Defendant Jose Luis Conde Varela pled guilty on February 23, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b)(2), one count of use of one or more unauthorized access devices to obtain anything of value aggregating $1,000 or more, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(2) and 2, and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2. Varela is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11, 2016.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and the Coral Springs Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Rothstein.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.