Criminal Justice News

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fort Washington Man Pleads Guilty in $163,000 Credit Card Fraud Scheme

GREENBELT, MD—Reginald Harold Jefferies, age 36, of Fort Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to fraud in connection with access devices.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy P. Groh of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

“Today’s plea sends a clear message to individuals who commit credit card schemes that postal inspectors will vigorously pursue and bring to justice anyone who uses the U.S. mail to conduct criminal activities,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina, U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division. “We are grateful to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Prince George’s County Police Department for their support with this case.”

According to his guilty plea, from February 20, 2008 to April 2, 2010, Jefferies obtained credit cards in his own name and added fictitious names as secondary users on the accounts. Jefferies then used the credit cards to order items from merchants on payment plans, frequently using the fictitious secondary names. Jefferies provided multiple different addresses to which the items should be shipped, including addresses for himself, his friends and relatives, and vacant addresses.

Pursuant to the payment plans, the merchants charged Jefferies’ credit cards in installments over a period of time. Merchants typically were able to charge Jefferies’ credit cards for the initial payments for the items Jefferies had purchased. Jefferies then reported to the credit card companies that his credit cards had been lost or stolen. The credit card companies closed those credit card accounts and issued Jefferies new credit card account numbers. When the merchants tried to charge Jefferies’ credit cards for the subsequent installment payments, they were unable to do so because those accounts had been closed. As a result, the merchants lost more than $163,376.18 on the balances due.

Jefferies maintained at least three eBay accounts, which he used to sell the items that he had fraudulently obtained from the merchants.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Jefferies’ residence on April 2, 2010, and seized more than 100 credit cards in Jefferies’ name or in the names of fictitious secondary users.

As part of his plea agreement, Jefferies agrees to the entry of an order of restitution and forfeiture of $163,376.18.

Jefferies faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled his sentencing for December 3, 2012, at 1 p.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division, FBI, and Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Mara Zusman Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.

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