Online Counterfeit Credit and ID Card Suspects Collared
Three Florida men suspected of masterminding a cyberspace operation to equip criminals with the tools for fake credit cards and false identification documents face federal charges in New Jersey.
Sean Roberson, 39, and Hugo Rebaza, 31, of Palm Bay, and Vinici Gonzalez, 30, of Melbourne, face charges including counterfeit trafficking and wire, mail and bank fraud in connection with the shutdown of fakeplastic.net.
According to information from the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents oversaw more than 30 "controlled deliveries" of material through the site, which led them to 11 suspects rounded up to date. Among them is a customer, Nashancy Johnny Colbert, 27, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
"This ring of computer criminals ran an online one-stop shop where counterfeit credit cards were a mouse click away," said North Carolina U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins in a prepared release.
"As consumer fraud becomes more sophisticated, law enforcement and prosecutors across the country are joining forces to pull aside the veil of cyberspace anonymity and take down criminal enterprises that pilfer the identities of innocent victims for personal gain."
Investigators said they began watching the site in January 2013. It traded in customized counterfeit credit and debit cards and holographs used in driving licenses. Roberson allegedly started marketing them in April 2011 and took it on line in June 2012, building a subscriber base of about 400.
The suspects are believed to have shipped at least 3,600 packages containing about 69,000 bogus credit cards, at least 35,000 holographic authenticity stickers and some 30,000 holographic overlays for state identification card use.
Authorities alleged that Roberson amassed more than $1,700,000, and estimated that the enterprise resulted in losses as high as $34,500,000, assuming a dent of about $500 for each payment card.
If convicted of the most serious charges, all four would risk prison terms of up to 30 years and fines as high as $1,000,000.