Federal fraud charges can carry severe penalties. These charges usually involve accusations of the misappropriation of money, and the potential consequences escalate as the amount of money involved increases. The paper trail in this type of cases is often long. When facing fraud charges, it is important to seek experienced legal representation early in the process. The early stages of a financial fraud case are often the most crucial in mounting a successful legal defense.
In one recent incident, a student enrolled at the University of Georgia psychology doctoral program was sentenced for identity theft and fraud charges. The 25-year-old student received a sentence of approximately six years as part of a plea agreement in which he admitted to orchestrating a conspiracy to misappropriate credit card numbers from hundred of victims.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, law enforcement officials discovered the alleged scheme after the student had been stopped for a traffic violation. Investigators claim that they discovered credit card skimming devices in his car. There was no description in this article about how or why the traffic stop led to a search of his car and the alleged discovery of the skimming devices.
Prosecutors say that the doctoral student supplied the credit card skimming devices to waitresses in restaurants across the region. The waitresses would then allegedly use the skimming devices to obtain credit card information from restaurant patrons. The student would then allegedly upload the credit card information to a re-encoding device that was used to create counterfeit credit cards that were used to make retail purchases.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, “UGA doctoral student sentenced for credit card fraud,” Dec. 12, 2011