Two south Florida women were sentenced yesterday for their roles in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain credit cards that they and other individuals used to purchase over $100,000 of personal cosmetic medical services.
The women were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 44 months and 32 months, respectively, with each term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, as charged in an indictment.
The defendants carried out the conspiracy by stealing names, social security numbers, and dates of birth, and using that information to apply for and receive credit cards. They targeted individuals whom they believed had strong credit, particularly elderly individuals, and would run credit checks on these individuals before submitting applications to increase the likelihood of credit approvals. In addition to using the credit cards to purchase cosmetic services for themselves, the defendants profited by supplying fraudulent credit cards to other co-conspirators so they could purchase expensive cosmetic services in exchange for a fee, which was typically half the value of the desired service.
Seven other co-conspirators have been charged with, and pleaded guilty to, federal felonies in connection with this criminal activity. Of the seven, three are currently awaiting sentencing; two were sentenced to 24 months in prison; one was sentenced to time served with 3 years of supervised release that included 360 days of home detention; and one was sentenced to 3 years’ probation.
One of the co-conspirators worked at a medical facility as a receptionist and, in that role, she had access to patients’ personal information. She admitted to misappropriating more than twenty patients’ information and providing it for use in the scheme. This information was used to acquire several fraudulent credit cards, including a card that the co-conspirator used to purchase an $8,000 cosmetic service for herself.
Another co-conspirator worked at a plastic surgery clinic and allowed other co-conspirators to use the fraudulent credit cards to pay for plastic surgery services. In some instances, she learned of a person who wanted a cosmetic surgery, and contacted one of the women to obtain or otherwise provide a fraudulent credit card for the person to use at the clinic. In these instances, the co-conspirators would receive a kickback for supplying the fraudulent credit card to the person using the card to pay for plastic surgery.