FL man pleads guilty to credit card fraud

Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, announced that Maikel Soto, 29, of Homestead, Florida, has pled guilty to conspiring to commit more than $1 million in credit card fraud throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b)(2).

Soto faces up to five years imprisonment. Sentencing has been set for September 15, 2009.

According to court documents and statements made in court today, Soto conspired with others to purchase more than $450,000 in merchandise using 2,640 Walmart and Sam’s Club gift cards that were obtained using 1,133 compromised credit cards. The defendant also billed more than $550,000 from two different merchant credit card companies for fraudulent transactions in which the proceeds were deposited into bank accounts he controlled.

Mr. Soto accomplished his scheme through possession of the point-of-sale credit card terminals that had been used to process the fraudulent sales transactions, the credit card receipts from the fraudulent sales transactions, numerous lists, including approximately 2,000 compromised credit card account numbers, counterfeit credit cards re-encoded with legitimate account numbers, credit card making equipment, including a laptop, credit code encoder, and encoder software. Soto was also found in possession of Walmart gift cards that had not been used, and Walmart receipts reflecting purchases made with compromised account numbers. A computer forensics exam revealed more than 20,000 unauthorized credit card account numbers from one of Soto’s computers.

The crimes occurred during October 2006 and April 2007.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Secret Service agents involved in this case and thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department for their assistance during the investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey A. Neiman and Strider L. Dickson.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

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