Five arrested in $28 million credit card, identity theft scheme

A recent investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service resulted in the arrest of five individuals in connection with a $28 million credit card and identity theft scheme.

The men involved reportedly operated a number of websites that purportedly sold a variety of dietary supplements, however, the sites were primarily used to repeatedly bill consumers who never ordered their products. If a customer did order a product from one of the websites, no product was delivered in almost every instance.

The defendants, James Beckish, Richard Witcher, James Toner, Peter O’Brien and Joseph Anthony Demaria, were arrested on June 29 and were presented before Magistrate Judges in the District of New Jersey, the Middle District of Florida, and the Southern District of Florida.

Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted on both counts, the defendants would each be subject to a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison.

“Emerging technologies and cyber capabilities enable criminal networks to evolve and significantly impact financial markets,” Dave Beach, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office, said. “This case is another example of the transnational investigative capabilities of the United States Secret Service. Our developed partnerships with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private sector stakeholders enables us to focus our resources to uncover, investigate and prevent these crimes more effectively.”