A Clark County man, the 10th and final defendant tied to a credit card fraud ring that operated in the Portland metro area, was sentenced Monday in federal court to three years in prison.
Gary Peck, 44, pleaded guilty in October to aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection with access devices, as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, court records say. He originally faced two additional counts of fraud.
U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez also imposed three years of supervised release in Peck’s case, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Oregon.
The scheme’s leader and organizer, Jonathan Dominic Coons, 41, of Vancouver, was sentenced Jan. 25 to more than six years in prison, the news release says.
According to court documents, to facilitate the scheme, Coons, Peck and others manufactured more than 1,100 counterfeit credit and debit cards, and used them throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho, prosecutors said.
“To create the counterfeit cards, the group embossed stolen credit card and other identifying information on gift cards purchased or stolen from local stores. The majority of stolen information used by the group belonged to individuals residing in Canada and Australia,” the news release says.
The group used the counterfeit credit and debit cards to purchase rooms at hotels, rental cars and merchandise, which they would sell online or trade for drugs, prosecutors said. The suspects would organize shopping trips, working their way along Interstate 5, stopping at stores to use the counterfeit cards.
During the investigation, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on Peck and co-defendant Dawn Szabo’s home, which was used as a “flophouse” where the group planned the scheme and made the counterfeit cards, court records say.
“(Peck) was only involved in a few of the ‘shopping’ sprees because his co-defendants didn’t consider him useful in that capacity. … Defendant Peck benefited both by receiving goods fraudulently obtained and by having access to drugs that were used and exchanged in his home,” Peck’s sentencing memorandum reads.
Szabo was sentenced to more than four years in prison and three years’ supervised release, prosecutors said.
The case was investigated by the Vancouver Police Department with help from Homeland Security Investigations. Anyone believed to be a victim of an identity theft crime should contact Homeland investigators at 866-347-2423. Tips can also be submitted online by visiting www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.