Three men were sentenced to prison today for their involvement in a credit card fraud scheme which involved re-encoded credit cards with stolen bank information. All three defendants were directed to pay $68,337.66 in restitution to their victims.
According to court documents and testimony, on April 21, 2015, Spotsylvania Deputy Sheriffs received a call about suspicious activity around two bank branches. Upon responding, they observed Ghazaryan and Margaryan seated in a van parked in a near-by parking lot. They found 150 blank plastic cards with magnetic strips re-encoded with stolen credit card information, as well as a paper with the address of a Richmond area gas station that had been identified by banks as a point of compromise for customers’ debit cards. Deputies found Avagyan in a restaurant across the street. Several weeks later, an employee of the restaurant located three re-encoded cards, identical to those recovered from the van, buried in gravel near the front entrance of the restaurant. The three men were subsequently linked via bank photographs to withdrawals from ATMs that occurred in March and April 2015 in Pennsylvania and Virginia using stolen debit or credit card numbers.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Douglas F. Mease, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office; and Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger L. Harris, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Moore and former Special Assistant U.S Attorney Margaret W. Reed prosecuted the case.
This case was investigated by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service as members of the Metro-Richmond Identity Theft Task Force. They were assisted by the Fredericksburg Police Department, the City of Richmond Police Department, the State College, Pennsylvania Police Department, and numerous other police departments in Pennsylvania. Prosecutions for the Task Force are handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:15-cr-155.