Couple Arrested In ID Theft Scheme Targeting Walmart Customers
PITTSBURGH – Two former Butler County residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of conspiracy, Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The 15-count indictment, returned on July 29, 2014 and unsealed today, named Robert W. MacVittie, 33, and Jennifer MacVittie, aka Jennifer Dinwiddie, 31, formerly of Cranberry Twp., Pa., as defendants.
According to the indictment, from 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 to negotiate counterfeit checks at Walmart stores throughout the U.S., including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and other states. The couple was arrested at a small casino by law enforcement in Nevada on Nov. 29, 2014.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 65 years in prison, a fine of $3,750,000, 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 conducted the investigation that led to the indictment of Robert and Jennifer MacVittie. 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 U.S. 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.
An indictment is an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.