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June 3, 09

NEWS / Two Bay Area Residents Charged in Credit Card and Identity Theft Scheme


SAN FRANCISCO—A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed Wednesday charging two Bay Area residents with the use of multiple false identifications and counterfeit credit cards, along with the possession of counterfeit document-making equipment, U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Jesse Carter, 36, and Cherie Hokamura, 36, each were charged in a 13-count indictment. The charges against the defendants include mail fraud, conspiracy, possession of document-making implements and device-making equipment, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft. Hokamura was arraigned Wednesday; Carter was arraigned yesterday.

The indictment alleges that Carter and Hokamura used false identification and counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase goods and services, including the purchase of pre-paid debit cards funded by the counterfeit credit cards. The indictment further alleges that Carter and Hokamura possessed equipment to make fraudulent credit cards and to create false California driver’s licenses.

Items of document-making equipment that the defendants were charged with possessing included a laminator, digital camera, black-light lamps, and four laptop computers. The indictment alleges that the defendants also possessed a spreadsheet containing 1,279 stolen credit or debit card numbers, and a book entitled, “Who Are You: The Encyclopedia of Personal Identification” for the purpose of carrying out the charged offenses.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud is 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum penalty for the conspiracy count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 is 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for the possession of document-making implements and authentication features in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(5) is 15 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, plus restitution and forfeiture if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for the count of possessing device-making equipment in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(4) is 15 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, plus restitution and forfeiture if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for possessing 15 or more unauthorized access devices in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(3) is 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, plus restitution and forfeiture if appropriate.

Each count of aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(1) carries a mandatory two-year prison term to be served consecutive to any other prison term imposed, a fine of $250,000, and restitution and forfeiture if appropriate.

Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Ward and Jeane Hamilton, with the assistance of Rosario Calderon. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, San Francisco Division; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento Division.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Jesse Carter and Cherie Hokamura must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:
Case #: 09-0444 CRB.

Tags: document,
 




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