ALEXANDRIA, VA—Rameesha Smith, 30, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced today to 38 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a wide-ranging credit card fraud conspiracy that victimized credit card holders nationwide, as well as various retailers in northern Virginia and elsewhere. Smith also was ordered to pay $143,832.51 in restitution.
United States Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Smith pleaded guilty on March 10, 2014. According to court documents, from at least as early as September 2010 through at least October 2012, Smith conspired with others to purchase stolen credit card data on the Internet or through other means. This stolen data was then unlawfully loaded onto gift cards or unlawfully encoded onto other credit or debit cards through the use of device-making equipment, such as credit card encoders. The counterfeit credit cards often were embossed with aliases belonging to the members of the conspiracy.
Smith and her co-conspirators then took trips, sometimes together, to use the re-encoded gift, credit or debit cards to buy gift cards and other merchandise at legitimate merchant locations like Giant, Rite-Aid and Nordstrom. Smith often presented counterfeit driver’s licenses displaying various aliases when requested by store clerks. Smith and the conspirators then returned the merchandise they purchased in order to convert the stolen data to cash. The actions of Smith and her co-conspirators involved more than 250 victims, and resulted in at least $200,000 in actual and intended losses.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jasmine H. Yoon and Trial Attorney William A. Hall, Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) prosecuted the case.