Dutch man charged with allegedly stealing Wash. credit cards

June 12, 2012

Associated Press on June 11, 2012 released the following:

“By MANUEL VALDES
Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — In an investigation that spanned from a Seattle restaurant to Romania, a 21-year-old Dutch national pleaded not guilty Monday to federal computer hacking charges that include the theft of at least 44,000 credit card numbers.

Federal prosecutors said David Benjamin Schrooten is a prominent figure known as “Fortezza” in the international hacking community who sold stolen credit card numbers in bulk through websites.

The 44,000 credit card numbers included in these charges come from just one sale, authorities said.

Schrooten was arrested in Romania and arrived in Seattle on Saturday. He has been charged with 14 crimes, ranging from access device fraud to identity theft, authorities said.

“People think that cyber criminals cannot be found or apprehended. Today we know that’s not true. You cannot hide in cyberspace,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan at a news conference. “We will find you. We will charge you. We will extradite you and we will prosecute you.”

A message left with Schrooten’s listed attorney was not immediately returned.

Seattle and federal authorities credited a local Italian restaurant owner for sparking the investigation.

Corino Bonjrada said he became alarmed after several complaints from customers of suspicious charges after dining at Modello Risorante Italiano.

Customers suspected his workers had taken their credit card information and used it, but Bonjrada found no evidence of that. He then called computer experts and eventually the police, he said.

That led police to Christopher A. Schroebel, 21, of Maryland, who they say planted spying malware in the sales systems of two Seattle businesses, two of dozens of businesses targeted. Schroebel had collected at least 4,800 credit card numbers in 2011.

“Some of my customers were saying they didn’t know if they wanted to come back,” Bonjrada said. “They were afraid.”

Schroebel was arrested in November 2011 and pleaded guilty last month to federal charges that included bank fraud. He is set to be sentenced in August.

Investigators said Schrooten worked with Schroebel in creating websites to sell the credit card numbers.

Bonjrada said some customers were charged within “10 minutes” of using their credit card at his restaurants in the amounts of $70 or $80.

Authorities said the investigation into the ring run by Schrooten is continuing.

Schrooten is scheduled back in court Aug. 20.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Philadelphia Man Indicted on Alleged Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

May 4, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 3, 2012 released the following:

“Darrel Jason Davis, 53, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged today by indictment with conspiracy, bank fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 141 years’ imprisonment and a $5,250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of investigation and the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the Willistown Township Police Department, the Warwick Township Police Department, the Amity Township Police Department, the Lower Makefield Township Police Department, the Newtown Police Department, Springfield Township Police Department, Montgomery Township Police Department, Middletown Township Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney K.T. Newton.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


EXCLUSIVE: Infamous international hacking group LulzSec brought down by own leader

March 6, 2012

Fox News on March 6, 2012 released the following:

“By Jana Winter

EXCLUSIVE: Law enforcement agents on two continents swooped in on top members of the infamous computer hacking group LulzSec early this morning, and acting largely on evidence gathered by the organization’s brazen leader — who sources say has been secretly working for the government for months — arrested three and charged two more with conspiracy.

Charges against four of the five were based on a conspiracy case filed in New York federal court, FoxNews.com has learned. An indictment charging the suspects, who include two men from Great Britain, two from Ireland and an American in Chicago, is expected to be unsealed Tuesday morning in the Southern District of New York.

“This is devastating to the organization,” said an FBI official involved with the investigation. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”

The offshoot of the loose network of hackers, Anonymous, believed to have caused billions of dollars in damage to governments, international banks and corporations, was allegedly led by a shadowy figure FoxNews.com has identified as Hector Xavier Monsegur. Working under the Internet alias “Sabu,” the unemployed, 28-year-old father of two allegedly commanded a loosely organized, international team of perhaps thousands of hackers from his nerve center in a public housing project on New York’s Lower East Side. After the FBI unmasked Monsegur last June, he became a cooperating witness, sources told FoxNews.com.

“They caught him and he was secretly arrested and now works for the FBI,” a source close to Sabu told FoxNews.com.

Monsegur pleaded guilty Aug. 15 to 12 hacking-related charges and information documenting his admissions is expected to be unsealed in Southern District Court on Tuesday.

As a result of Monsegur’s cooperation, which was confirmed by numerous senior-level officials, the remaining top-ranking members of LulzSec were arrested or hit with additional charges Tuesday morning. The five charged in the LulzSec conspiracy indictment expected to be unsealed were identified by sources as: Ryan Ackroyd, aka “Kayla” and Jake Davis, aka “Topiary,” both of London; Darren Martyn, aka “pwnsauce” and Donncha O’Cearrbhail, aka “palladium,” both of Ireland; and Jeremy Hammond aka “Anarchaos,” of Chicago.

Hammond was arrested on access device fraud and hacking charges and is believed to have been the main person behind the devastating December hack on U.S. security company Stratfor. Millions of emails were stolen and then published on Wikileaks; credit card numbers and other confidential information were also stolen, law enforcement sources told FoxNews.com.

The sources said Hammond will be charged in a separate indictment, and they described him as a member of Anonymous.

The others are all suspected members of LulzSec, the group that has wreaked havoc on U.S. and foreign government agencies, including the CIA and FBI, numerous defense contractors, financial and governmental entities and corporations including Fox and Sony.

Ackroyd, who is suspected of using the online handle “Kayla,” is alleged to be Monsegur’s top deputy. Among other things, Kayla identified vulnerabilities in the U.S. Senate’s computer systems and passed the information on to Sabu. Kayla was expected to be taken into custody on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Southern District and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined comment.
Monsegur’s attorney did not return FoxNews.com’s repeated requests for comment.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Arthur David Morgart Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury with Access Device Fraud, Fraud Related to Identification Documents and Aggravated Identity Theft

August 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 12, 2011 released the following:

“Possession of Counterfeit IDs and Credit Cards Leads to Identity Theft Charges

HOUSTON – A federal grand jury in Houston has returned a seven-count indictment charging Arthur David Morgart with access device fraud related to counterfeit and unauthorized credit card numbers, fraud related to identification documents and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Angel José Moreno announced today along with United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Cynthia L. Marble.

The indictment was returned by a Houston federal grand jury on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. Morgart, 31, is accused of possessing more than 15 counterfeit and unauthorized access devices – namely debit and credit card numbers and cards – on April 2, 2011, the date of his arrest by officers from the Houston Police Department. Morgart is also accused of four counts of aggravated identity theft arising from his alleged possession without lawful authority of a Texas driver’s license and credit cards in the names of other persons between March 27, 2011, and April 2, 2011, as well as two additional counts of fraud related to identification documents involving his alleged possession of an altered Social Security card and an altered Texas driver’s license without lawful authority.

Morgart is presently in state custody in the Huntsville area on unrelated charges. The United States will seek a court order to transfer Morgart into federal custody to answer these new charges.

If convicted of the one charge of access device fraud, Morgart faces up to 10 years in federal prison without parole as well as a $250,000 fine. If convicted of any of the two fraud related to identification documents charges the punishment is up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A conviction for any of the four aggravated identity theft charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on other offenses charged resulting in conviction.

The United States Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to today’s federal charges. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Jason Michael Lall, John Pierre Griffin, John DaSilva Paz, and Albert Richard Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for an Alleged Identity Theft Scheme

July 6, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 6, 2011 released the following:

“Four Indicted for Identity Theft Scheme

HOUSTON – Four area men have been indicted for taking part in an identity theft ring at various banks in the Houston area, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Jason Michael Lall, 38, John Pierre Griffin, 32, John DaSilva Paz, 27, all residents of Houston, and Albert Richard, 51, of Missouri City, Texas, are all charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of access device fraud. Hall and Richard are also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft, while Griffin and Paz are charged with one and three counts of aggravated identity theft, respectively.

All four men were arrested by criminal complaint on June 3, 2011, and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on June 10, 2011. Paz and Richard are currently out on bond, while Lall and Griffin are currently being held in custody without bond. All four men appeared in court today for formal arraignment proceedings, at which time all entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. The case is currently set for trial on Aug. 29, 2011, before U.S. District Court Judge Melinda Harmon.

According to the allegations in the indictment returned at the end of June, beginning in August 2009, the defendants took part in a scheme in which overlay devices were manufactured to be placed on ATM machines in order to capture the identifying information of bank customers. The defendants rented vehicles and spray-painted and otherwise obstructed bank surveillance equipment in order to make themselves more difficult to identify. The information captured from the various ATM machines was then re-encoded onto fraudulent cards that were used to withdraw money in excess of $400,000 from various area bank locations.

The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for conspiracy to commit bank fraud is up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million, while a conviction for each count of access device fraud is up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Each count of aggravated identity theft carries a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of two years in prison to run consecutively with any other sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann will be prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Muhammed Omar Mullahkhel, Ajmal Omar Mullahkhel, Bilqis Shahnaz Mullahkhel, Nargas Parwana Mullahkhel, Abdul Subur Mumtaz Mullahkhel, and AJ’s Kwik Mart Indicted in 20 Counts by a Federal Grand Jury in Salt Lake City

July 6, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Utah on July 6, 2011 released the following:

“AJ’s Kwik Mart, Five Individuals Charged in Alleged Scheme to Defraud Nutrition Assistance Program

SALT LAKE CITY— A federal grand jury returned a 20-count indictment Wednesday afternoon charging AJ’s Kwik Mart in Salt Lake City and five individuals with violations of federal law in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

AJ’s Kwik Mart is a small convenience store located at 268 South Main Street. It carries small food and convenience items such as soft drinks, chips, candy, canned soups, pastas, prepared sandwiches, and miscellaneous snack items, among other things.

Charged in the indictment along with the business are Muhammed Omar Mullahkhel, aka Omar Mullahkhel, age 59, and Ajmal Omar Mullahkhel, aka AJ, age 24, both of West Valley City; and Bilqis Shahnaz Mullahkhel, age 26; Nargas Parwana Mullahkhel, age 28; and Abdul Subur Mumtaz Mullahkhel, aka Mumtaz, all of Salt Lake City. A summons will be issued to each defendant to appear in federal court for an arraignment. (No date has been set.)

The indictment includes one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; 13 counts of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits fraud; one count of access device fraud; and five counts of money laundering. The charges follow an investigation by agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General and the FBI.

The SNAP program provides assistance to low-income individuals and families to purchase food. States are given authority to determine eligibility and to certify recipients who qualify for the program. In Utah, SNAP benefits are administered by the Utah State Department of Workforce Services. Approved applicants are given a benefits transactions card, similar to a bank debit card, linked to a SNAP account. Benefits for recipients are electronically encoded to the account on a monthly basis to allow beneficiaries to purchase eligible food items. SNAP card benefits can only be exchanged for eligible food items and can only be used at authorized stores. SNAP benefits may not be redeemed for cash.

The indictment alleges the defendants devised a scheme to redeem SNAP benefits for cash paid in amounts less than the amounts charged to the SNAP benefits cards. On multiple occasions between December 2007 and May 2011, according to the indictment, a SNAP benefits card would be presented to an employee of the store, along with a request to redeem the value on the card for cash. Employees would require the customer to purchase a nominal amount of food or non-food items, such as cigarettes, and in one or more card transactions would process the purchase and an additional amount up to the SNAP benefit limit on the card. The indictment alleges approximately 50 percent of the cash value of the transaction over the value of the merchandised purchased would be refunded to the customer and the other 50 percent would be kept by the store. The full value of the transaction would subsequently be deposited by electronic funds transfer into the bank account of AJ’s Kwik Mart. A portion of the excess SNAP benefits purchased would be allocated to various employees of the store, the indictment alleges.

AJ’s Kwik Mart was authorized to accept SNAP benefits on March 3, 2004. According to the indictment, on an application to participate as a SNAP retailer, Muhammed Omar Mullahkhel reported estimated annual food sales of items eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits of $175,000. A.J.’s Kwik Mart redeemed approximately $1,371,600 in SNAP benefits during the period of December 2007 to February 2011.

The potential maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is up to 20 years in prison. SNAP benefits fraud carries a potential five-year penalty. The potential penalty for access device fraud is up to 15 years in prison and money laundering is up to 10 years.

Indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Record 309-Year Sentence Upheld for Federal Crime Conviction

March 31, 2011

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced yesterday that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a sentence of 309 years’ imprisonment for Robert Thompson, also known as John Lawson, age 44, of Zachary, Louisiana. Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson imposed the sentence on February 17, 2010, following Thompson’s conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruct justice; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering; one count of mail fraud; one count of honest services mail fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of access device fraud; two counts of aggravated identify theft; one count of computer fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of obstruction of justice.

The 309-year sentence constituted the fourth-longest white-collar prison sentence in U.S. history and the longest such sentence in the history of the Middle District of Louisiana. Thompson is currently serving his sentence in a specialized communication management unit located within the maximum security federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The unit is one of only two in the country and is specially designed to deal with inmates who are prone to use communication with the outside to facilitate additional crimes.

This matter involved Thompson engaging in multiple, long-running conspiracies with numerous co-conspirators to obtain and use the personal and financial information of approximately 150 individuals, churches, financial institutions, and businesses, without their knowledge or authorization, to steal from their bank accounts and use their credit to obtain things of value, including attempting to steal $20,000,000 from one victim’s bank accounts. To facilitate the scheme, Thompson enlisted corrections officers to assist him through bribery and other means.

Despite the affirmation of Thompson’s sentence by the Fifth Circuit, he may still seek redress by appealing his case to the Supreme Court. Thompson may be able to argue his case on grounds of an 8th Amendment violation. The 8th Amendment constitutionally prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court has held, even recently, that the imposition of a sentence must not be disproportionate to the crime. Just last term, the Supreme Court addressed an 8th Amendment argument and reaffirmed the principle that while serious nonhomicide crimes are indeed devastating to the public, they should not be compared to murder in their severity or irrevocability. See Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010).

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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