Butler County Couple Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Scheme Perpetrated at Walmart Stores
PITTSBURGH – A Butler County couple has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Robert W. MacVittie, 35, and Jennifer MacVittie, aka Jennifer Dinwiddie, 32, formerly of Cranberry, Twp., each pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.
In connection with the guilty plea, beginning around October 2013, through May, 2014, the MacVitties’ used cell phone cameras to “shoulder surf” Social Security numbers from Walmart customers nationwide by taking cell phone video images of the customers who were cashing checks at the customer service counters. The stolen information was later used by the MacVittie’s to negotiate counterfeit checks at Walmart stores throughout the U.S., including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and other states. The MacVittie’s were arrested at a casino by law enforcement in Nevada on Nov. 29, 2014.
Judge Conti scheduled the sentencing for Jennifer MacVittie on Jan. 8, 2016, at 11 a.m. and Robert MacVittie on Jan. 15, 2016, at 10 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than seven years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Western Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force (WPFCTF) conducted the investigation that led to the indictment of the MacVitties. The WPFCTF was established as a collaborative, multi-agency effort to effectively combat financial crimes, including identity fraud, in Western Pennsylvania. Partnering in this effort are the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, the Allegheny County Police Department, the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Pennsylvania State Police.