Ten Defendants Convicted and Sentenced for Their Roles in Multi-State Identity Theft, Credit Card Fraud, and Money Laundering Ring Netting more than $1.5 million in Profits
The last two of 10 defendants were sentenced for their participation in a multi-state identity theft, credit card fraud, and money laundering scheme.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
According to stipulated facts filed in court and statements made in court, Noe Reina De La Cruz, 28, of Doral, Raul Gil-Rodriguez, 36, formerly of Paramus, New Jersey, Ney Antonio Lopez De La Cruz, 25, of Doral, Domingo Reyes, 41, formerly of Doral and New York, New York, Yousef Michi, 35, of New York, New York, Esteban Ochoa, 35, of New York, New York, Vantroy Sanchez, 40, of New York, New York, Jeffrey Batista, 28, of New York, New York, Carlos David Franco, 32, of Miami, and Pedro De La Cruz, 49, of New York, New York, used the personal identifying information of other individuals to open credit card accounts without the victims’ knowledge or consent. The conspirators used the fraudulently obtained credit cards to purchase electronics, purchase home goods, purchase designer shoes, purchase Rolex watches, travel across the country and abroad, pay for spa services, and pay for medical procedures – such as Lasik surgery – for themselves and others.
For example, according to court documents, on or about March 30, 2017, Noe Reina De La Cruz used a Citibank credit card account number ending in 4669, issued to victim “E.R.,” without the permission and authority of “E.R.,” to purchase items including a Rolex watch, totaling approximately $14,065. On another occasion, on or about May 11, 2017, Noe Reina De La Cruz used a credit card bearing the name “S.D.,” encoded with Citibank account number ending in 3349, issued to identity theft victim “D.A.,” to purchase items and spa services at the Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, which totaled approximately $1,299. The indictment further alleges that, on or about Mary 12, 2017, Raul Gil-Rodriguez used a Citibank credit card account number ending in 2766, issued to identity theft victim “P.L.,” to purchase eye surgery totaling approximately $5,000. Noe Reina De La Cruz also used fraud proceeds and laundered funds to purchase property in Davie that was valued at more than $600,000.
Some conspirators also resold fraudulently obtained electronics, such as Apple products and Nest thermostats, for a percentage of their face value, to Yousef Michi and Carlos David Franco, in order to obtain cash, checks, or wire transfers to Royal Elite Investments Corp., a shell company that Noe Reina De La Cruz controlled, and to companies operated by Raul Gil-Rodriguez.
Gil-Rodriguez and Reyes were the final two defendants sentenced in this case. U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke previously imposed sentences ranging from probation for one defendant to 97 months in prison for the two leaders of the ring, Noe Reina De La Cruz and Raul Gil-Rodriguez. In addition to their terms of incarceration, the defendants were sentenced to pay restitution, special assessments, and forfeiture money judgments that totaled more than $1.5 million.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the special agents of ICE-HSI Miami Field Office and ICE-HSI New York Field Office who conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa H. Miller prosecuted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nalina Sombuntham and Nicole Grosnoff are handling the asset forfeiture component of the case.