On November 3rd a Cuban immigrant legally residing in Texas was convicted for his part in a massive retail credit card fraud scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to reports filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alexis Acosta-Guzman, a Cuban citizen who was residing in McAllen, Texas, pleaded guilty to a large-scale identity theft and retail credit card fraud incident that involves stolen credit card information he obtained through cyber-criminals abroad. He was charged and convicted of trafficking in access devices.
From March 2013 through August 2015, Acosta-Guzman admitted to wiring thousands of dollars in funds to credit card hackers in China, Russia and the Ukraine. According to accounts, the Cuban national wired more than $100,000 to these cyber-criminals. In return, he received more than 1,000 credit card numbers and other personal information that had been stolen from individuals across the United States. In one purchase alone, he was able to get close to 450 stolen credit card numbers. That information was then transferred to others using various e-mail accounts.
Acosta-Guzman and co-conspirators used special devices often associated with retail credit card fraud scams along with the stolen information to create counterfeit credit cards. They used the fraudulent credit cards to make purchases throughout Texas at different retailers and convenience stores.
As a result of the scheme, hundreds of people lost more than $211,000 for the fraudulent charges. Ultimately, the customers’ bank absorbed the losses. As part of his plea, Acosta-Guzman has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $211,311.15.
The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Secret Service, FBI and the McAllen Police Department. Acosta-Guzman had been previously convicted on state charges for credit card fraud. Agents began to look into his activities again in 2013 as part of a larger credit card fraud investigation and through warrants were able to get access to his emails and online activity. In the court records agents noted that Acosta-Guzman had never held a job since his arrival to the United States. The information helped prove that the man had no other means of income other than fraudulent activity.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Lindenmuth and Joseph T. Leonard prosecuted the case. Acosta-Guzman faces up to 10 years in federal prison.