Providence, RI – Yvener Jean-Baptiste, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence Monday to using counterfeit credit cards with account numbers belonging to actual credit card owners to purchase $172,661.09 in Target and Wal-Mart store gift cards at Rhode Island stores, including in Warwick, in November 2013.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha’s office announced the guilty plea Tuesday afternoon.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Jean-Baptiste admitted to the court that on five occasions between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, 2013, he and others purchased gift cards totaling $172,661.09 at Target stores in Lincoln, at the Warwick Mall and on Bald Hill Road, and at a Wal-Mart store in Warwick, using counterfeit credit cards with actual account numbers belonging to other individuals.
The owners of those account numbers were unaware that their personal identifying information was used to produce the counterfeit credit cards.
According to information presented to the court, Jean-Baptiste provided the purchased gift cards to an individual in New York. Jean-Baptiste typically received $200 for every $800 fraudulent transaction he conducted. The investigation revealed that the gift cards were redeemed at stores in New York the same day or the day after being purchased in Rhode Island.
Jean-Baptiste returned to the Target store in Lincoln on November 30, 2013, one day after he and another person purchased $75,894.01 worth of Target gift cards using six counterfeit credit cards. He returned to the store in a vehicle previously identified by a Target employee as being driven by the individuals who committed credit card fraud the previous day.
The vehicle was stopped by Lincoln Police, and officers arrested Jean-Baptiste after they discovered ten counterfeit credit cards, a counterfeit driver’s license and multiple Target gift cards inside the vehicle.
Yvener Jean-Baptiste pled guilty to one count each of credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5, 2014. At sentencing, he faces statutory penalties of a mandatory minimum of two years and up to 12 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss resulting from the crimes.
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