Charles County Man Sentenced to Over Six Years in Federal Prison for Credit Card Fraud Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Travis Lee, age 31, of La Plata, Maryland, today to 75 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft, as well as violating his supervised release in a previous credit card fraud case.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Brian J. Ebert of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement on August 31, 2015, Lee traveled with Kenneth Clifton Williamson to a shopping mall area in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and taught Williamson how to make fraudulent purchases at department stores using the unauthorized debit, credit and gift cards Lee manufactured using stolen credit and debit information obtained from illegal online carding forums. Lee reprogrammed the credit and gift cards with alternate data, which provided access to individuals’ bank accounts for fraudulent, unauthorized purchases.
Williamson purchased approximately $1,155 in merchandise at a high-end department store in Chevy Chase using two Visa gift card, which Lee had encoded with stolen account information. Lee and Williamson then proceeded to a high-end department store in Washington D.C. and repeated the process, again purchasing approximately $1,155 in merchandise using similar fraudulent gift cards.
Law enforcement arrested Lee a few months later and recovered at least 185 gift cards from Lee. A search of the vehicle, which was the same one used by Lee and Williamson to travel to the department stores in August, revealed gift cards, sales receipts, clothing and other merchandise, a laptop computer portable wi-fi device, as well as items used to create gift and credit cards encoded with stolen account information, including an embosser and electronic encoder.
On October 31, 2015, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Lee was driving and recovered at least 150 credit and gift cards, an embosser and other materials indicative of the manufacture of fraudulent credit cards and gift cards, including a laptop with a magnetic strip reader/writer.
On September 15, 2010, Lee was sentenced to five months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after being convicted of possession of counterfeit access devices in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. In December 2014, Lee’s supervised release was revoked and he was sentenced to 14 months in prison, followed by 22 months of supervised release. Lee was serving this term of supervised release when he committed the offenses in Maryland.
Kenneth Clifton Williamson, age 21, of Washington, D.C. previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme as was sentenced to four months in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service and Montgomery County Police Department, Electronic Crimes Unit for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer R. Sykes and Thomas P. Windom, who prosecuted the case.