Two Maryland Army National Guard soldiers have been convicted of using stolen credit and debit card information to shop at Air Force and Army Exchange Service stores and local businesses around the state in 2014 and 2015.
On June 1, Spc. James Stewart, 27, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, while Spc. Vincent Grant, 28, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a Justice Department release.
The conviction is the third in a series of trials against five total conspirators, a group which also included District of Columbia National Guard members Spc. Jamal Moody, Spc. Derrick Shelton and former Sgt. Quentin Stewart.
The soldiers used Bitcoin online currency to purchase credit and debit card numbers belonging to billing addresses in Maryland or customers with federal credit union accounts, then bought a device to encode magnetic card strips to put the stolen information onto cards in their names, according to the release.
“The defendants then used the cards they fraudulently re-encoded to buy merchandise, including gift cards, electronic items, and luxury goods, from Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores on U.S. military bases, also known as PX stores, and other locations in Maryland and elsewhere,” the release said. “They used the merchandise themselves or resold the merchandise to individuals they knew.”
Shelton, James Stewart, and Quentin Stewart could spend up to 20 years in prison, while Grant and Moody are facing a maximum of seven and a half years. All five could each add two years to those sentences for identity theft charges.