A federal jury has convicted a Las Vegas man, Ryan Masters, 28, of feloniously obtaining thousands of credit, debit and gift card numbers, and then using them to purchase electronics and obtain cash.
Masters was convicted of one count of conspiracy, four counts of possession of 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, one count of aggravated identity theft, and criminal forfeiture in violation of 18 USC Chapter 47 Sections 1028 (Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information), 1028A (Aggravated identity theft), 1029 (Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), and 1030 (Fraud and related activity in connection with computers). Masters was originally charged with 26 counts of forgery, 1 count of burglary, 3 counts of obtaining money under false pretenses, and 9 counts of uttering forged instruments, and held on a $119 thousand bond.
According to the evidence presented at trial, during a two year period Masters:
1. purchased stolen credit, debit or gift card account numbers from an individual n Pakistan;
2. came to possess thousands of pages of customer records, which included the customers’ credit card numbers, that had been stolen from a Las Vegas hotel; and 3. used computer software to predict gift card numbers issued by card companies.
All of the money generated from his illegal activities was spent on electronics and other personal items, as well as to buy gift cards, which he then sold to unsuspecting customers.
The Masters’ case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu. Masters is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2013. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the conspiracy and access device counts and two years for the aggravated identity theft count. Masters also faces fines of up to $250 thousand.
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