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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Two Florida Men Sentenced For Their Roles In Multimillion-Dollar Credit Card Fraud Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JAMES BECKISH and JOSEPH ANTHONY DEMARIA were sentenced to 48 and 36 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent scheme to place more than $7 million in unauthorized charges on the credit cards of thousands of consumers.  BECKISH and DEMARIA were sentenced by United States District Judge Edgardo Ramos.  

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Beckish and Demaria operated a scheme in which they purported to sell dietary supplements to consumers online.  In lieu of dietary supplements, consumers got nothing but headaches, credit card processors got ripped off, and Beckish and Demaria’s wallets got fatter.  Now they have been sentenced to prison and ordered to repay the money they stole.”   

According to the Complaint, the Information to which BECKISH and DEMARIA pled guilty, as well as court filings and statements made in public court proceedings:

Between 2013 and 2017, BECKISH, DEMARIA, and others participated in a fraudulent scheme to place recurring and unauthorized charges on thousands of victims’ credit cards.  As part of the scheme, the defendants created dozens of shell companies that purported to sell dietary supplements and similar products called “nutraceuticals” over the internet.  The defendants and their co-conspirators opened fraudulent bank accounts on behalf of the shell companies and applied for merchant accounts for the shell companies with credit card payment processors, sometimes by submitting fabricated records.  The defendants then used their merchant accounts to place unauthorized and recurring charges on thousands of credit cards, often without shipping any product to the cardholders.  As a result of the defendants’ criminal scheme, credit card processors paid millions of dollars in refunds for charges associated with the defendants’ companies in an attempt to refund affected consumers. 

BECKISH and DEMARIA were the leaders and organizers of this criminal enterprise, controlling the shell companies, overseeing and directing the actions of their co-conspirators, and making the decisions regarding how the scheme would operate and how the conspirators would evade law enforcement detection.  

In total, the defendant’s scheme resulted in at least $7,231,878 in fraudulent credit card charges over a one-year period. 

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BECKISH and DEMARIA each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on October 11, 2018.  In addition to the prison terms, BECKISH and DEMARIA were each sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $7,231,878 and pay the same amount in restitution.

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the United States Secret Service. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Sassoon, Olga Zverovich, and Michael McGinnis are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-128
Updated April 16, 2019