Posted: Jun 27, 2013 9:06 PM by MTN News
A pair of men who used stolen credit cards and credit card account information and counterfeit identification to bilk Helena, Butte and Bozeman merchants out of thousands of dollars were sentenced today in federal court.
LIang Wang, a 25-year-old resident of San Gabriel, CA, and Ke Xu, a 30-year-old resident of Monterey, CA, were each sentenced to 33 months in prison, and must pay $76,398 in restitution.
They were sentenced in connection with their guilty pleas to wire fraud.
According to court documents, the pair, along with others, stole credit cards and credit card account information and then used the information from the stolen credit cards to create counterfeit means of identification.
The counterfeit IDs were then presented to merchants in Montana where the defendants impersonated the true credit card account holders and used the credit cards to purchase gift cards and other merchandise without authorization.
Officials say the pair rented a car in California and then drove to Montana to commit the fraud. Arriving in Helena on July 29, 2012, they made purchases at Home Depot, Albertsons stores, Macy's Department Store, Target, Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot to make purchases with the counterfeit credit cards. Most of the purchases were gift cards, varying in value from $200 to $1,800 in value.
The pair, and their co-conspirators, charged merchandise and goods on the victims' credit accounts until the account reached its credit limit. They then discarded the counterfeit credit cards. Some of these discarded cards were later found in trash.
After their spree in Helena, the group traveled to Butte and Bozeman, where they continued to charge goods on fraudulent cards.
The total value of goods and merchandise purchased on July 29, totaled over $76,000.
More than 50 different means of identification were used to carry out the fraud scheme.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.