Canadian Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Fraudulently Acquire Personal Protective Equipment and Event Tickets
OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, STEVEN MESROP, 29, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud involving a scheme to fraudulently acquire personal protective equipment and event tickets, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On June 15, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment against Mesrop and seven other people. All defendants were charged with conspiracy. In addition, Mesrop and another conspirator were charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to the Superseding Indictment, Mesrop and his associates operated a scheme to use stolen credit card and identity information to induce businesses to provide goods and services, such as event tickets and personal protective equipment, to resell for a profit. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conspirators began targeting U.S.-based businesses selling goods that were scarce due to the pandemic. The conspirators allegedly used stolen credit card information to purchase items such as nitrile gloves, masks, and gowns and to resell them to third parties. The Superseding Indictment alleges the conspirators operated the scheme from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Greece, and Dubai. The Superseding Indictment alleges the conspirators targeted sports teams and event venues throughout the United States and Canada, including Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Superseding Indictment further alleges that Mesrop and his associates used 21 different alias email accounts and information from 52 stolen credit cards to purchase over 1,800 tickets to Oklahoma State University athletic events between November 2019 and January 2020. In March 2020, the conspirators allegedly used stolen credit card information to purchase approximately thousands of dollars’ worth of toilet paper from a paper supply company in Oklahoma City.
Yesterday, Mesrop pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. At sentencing, Mesrop faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years and a potential fine of $250,000. He has been in custody since his arrest on March 18, 2021.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Oklahoma City Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations New York Office – El Dorado Task Force, the New York City Police Department, and the Irvine (California) Police Department, with assistance from Customs and Border Protection. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Farrior.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.