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Federal Grand Jury Indicts Two Credit Card Cases Investigated by Jefferson County Regional Financial Fraud Task Force

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned two separate indictments charging individuals from outside of Alabama with traveling to the state to commit access device fraud, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey, and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams.

“The two unrelated cases indicted this week are prime examples of financial crime frequently committed through the creation and use of fraudulent debit, credit and gift cards,” Posey said. “We are fortunate in the Birmingham Metro Area to have the Jefferson County Regional Financial Crimes Task Force, which brings local law enforcement in the county together with the U.S. Secret Service to quickly respond to and investigate these type of crimes.”

“Technology has forever changed the way we do business, making every day financial transactions a prime target for fraud,” Williams said. “The Secret Service, in conjunction with the Jefferson County Regional Financial Crimes Task Force, continues to successfully combat financial crimes in the metro area by adapting our investigative methodologies, and educating the general public.”

A two-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges ALEXANDER ACOSTA, 27, and YESTER LUIS RODRIGUEZ DUQUE, 34, both of Florida, with conspiracy to use, possess and traffic in counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, and with possessing 15 or more of the fraudulent cards.

The indictment charges that Acosta and Duque traveled to Alabama in March in order to use counterfeit cards to obtain money, goods and services, and that Acosta used at least one of these cards at a Walmart in Vestavia Hills on March 15. The indictment likewise charges that the defendants were in possession of 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices on March 15.

The grand jury returned a separate two-count indictment charging CHARLES ANTONIO RICE, 27, and HERMES CHIMAERA-EL, 35, both of North Carolina, with conspiracy to commit access device fraud in March. The indictment also charges RICE with possessing device-making equipment on March 21.

According to the indictment, Rice and Chimaera-El obtained counterfeit access devices encoded with their own names, but with account numbers belonging to residents in the Northern District of Alabama. The duo came to north Alabama in order to use the fraudulent cards to obtain money, goods and services. Rice possessed an MSRX6 Bluetooth card encoder, the indictment charges.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to use, possess or traffic in unauthorized or counterfeit access devices is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing 15 or more unauthorized or counterfeit access devices is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for possessing device-making equipment is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The U.S. Secret Service investigated both cases in conjunction with its financial service investigator and state and local law enforcement partners on the Jefferson County Regional Financial Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robin Beardsley Mark and Erica Williamson Barnes are prosecuting the cases.

--DOJ Northern District of Arkansas