Former Customs Employee Pleads Guilty To Auctioning Online A Customs Declaration Form Signed By A Celebrity
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced Lonnie Shawn Hopson, 33, of Brooklyn, New York to 37 months in prison for a wire fraud conspiracy involving 453 gift cards containing stolen credit and debit card numbers, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Whitney also ordered Hopson to serve two years of supervised release and to pay restitution totaling $1,083, which Hopson paid prior to his sentencing.
According to information contained in filed documents and statements made in court:
On July 21, 2013, Homeland Security Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employees at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (Charlotte airport) discovered numerous mag-stripe payment cards while searching outbound checked luggage. Officers with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) responding to the call recovered approximately 453 gift/prepaid mag-stripe payment cards in Hopson’s luggage, who was scheduled to board an outbound flight. Law enforcement also seized from Hopson $1,816 in cash and two driver’s licenses – a New Jersey driver’s license in the name of another person baring Hopson’s photo, and a New York driver’s license with Hopson’s name and photo. Subsequent investigation revealed that the New Jersey driver’s license was a counterfeit license and had a driver’s license number assigned to another person. Further investigation also revealed that the recovered gift/prepaid cards in Hopson’s luggage had been re-encoded with stolen credit or debit account numbers. Hopson pleaded guilty in May 2015 to one count of wire fraud conspiracy.
Hobson will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the United States Secret Service, TSA and CMPD for their assistance with this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom O’Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.