Former State Department Employee Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge in Identity Theft Scam

Rodney P. Quarles, Jr., 26, of Charlotte Hall, Md., pled guilty yesterday to a federal charge stemming from an identity theft scam in which he and others used stolen credit cards to make more than $70,000 in purchases.

According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Quarles worked from September 2007 through March 2008 for the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. He was a member of the student work program, assigned to the Washington, D.C., Passport Office. His job responsibilities primarily consisted of destroying old passports and passports that had been reported lost or stolen. Part of the process entailed accessing files of individuals whose passports were being destroyed on a State Department database.

During his time on the job, Quarles agreed to engage in a conspiracy in which he and others used, without authorization, stolen credit cards to purchase goods and to obtain funds. The scheme’s participants included a mail sorter for the U.S. Postal Service, who stole envelopes that he suspected contained credit cards. The names on these cards were passed along to Quarles, who used the State Department database to retrieve information that helped activate the accounts.

With the accounts activated, Quarles and others used the stolen credit cards to purchase goods and obtain funds in the District of Columbia, Maryland and other jurisdictions. All told, the conspirators completed transactions totaling at least $71,774 to obtain cash, jewelry, high-end electronic equipment, gift cards, and other items. During the scheme, Quarles and others also unsuccessfully attempted to conduct another $133,494 in transactions.

Quarles pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conducting illegal transactions with credit cards. He is to be sentenced Jan. 11, 2013. The charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. As part of his plea agreement, Quarles agreed to pay $71,774 in restitution to Chase Bank USA NA.

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

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