NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that JEFFERY JOSEPH, age 26, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced on February 18, 2021 to 74 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Barry W. Ashe. He was the fourth defendant to be sentenced in this seven-defendant conspiracy case.
According to court documents, an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service revealed that JOSEPH and the other six defendants engaged in a scheme to obtain merchandise and cash from stores through fraud. The defendants obtained stolen credit and debit card information, encoded it onto cards, and then used that information to purchase items at stores. The defendants would then return the items at a different store of the same chain, but they would deceive store workers in order to have the chargeback credited to their own bank accounts. Court documents also detail how JOSEPH took flights with several other co-conspirators to perform fraudulent credit card transactions in various cities in the United States, including St. Louis, Missouri; Richmond, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Cincinnati, Ohio. JOSEPH was also arrested in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Franklin, Tennessee, while committing credit card fraud.
Federal agents located social media posts by JOSEPH that further established the fraud. For example, a July 2018 Instagram post showed JOSEPH sitting on the hood of a Mercedes with the caption, “I’m living proof that crime do pay.” Another post by JOSEPH in September 2018 showed him in Atlanta with the caption “only ducking indictments,” just six days after two of JOSEPH’S co-conspirators had been arrested. In his plea documents, JOSEPH admitted that he caused between $250,000.00 and $550,000.00 in losses through his own conduct and that of his co-conspirators.
Judge Ashe sentenced JOSEPH pursuant to JOSEPH’S prior guilty plea to three counts of the Third Superseding Indictment in this case. As to conspiracy to commit access device fraud, JOSEPH was sentenced to 50 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. As to possession of device making equipment, JOSEPH was sentenced to 50 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. These prison terms were ordered to run concurrently. As to the count of aggravated identity theft, Judge Ashe sentenced JOSEPH to a mandatory consecutive term of two years in prison along with a concurrent term of 1 year of supervised release.
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that individuals like Mr. Joseph who engage in fraudulent schemes of theft and deception that impact innocent victims and businesses within our community will be held accountable,” said Leslie Pichon, U.S. Secret Service New Orleans Special Agent in Charge.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the agencies that contributed to this conviction, which represents a coordinated effort of federal and state law enforcement authorities within the U.S. Secret Service’s Louisiana Cyber Fraud Task Force. U.S. Attorney Strasser also thanked the Franklin (TN) Police Department, the Mobile Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Minnetonka (MN) Police Department, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew R. Payne and K. Paige O’Hale are in charge of the prosecution.