Date: January 24, 2020
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that Lakisha Williams and her spouse Brittany White both of New Orleans, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Barry W. Ashe to charges stemming from their participation in a credit card fraud ring that operated in the New Orleans area.
According to court documents, Williams and White and the other defendants engaged in a scheme to obtain merchandise and cash from stores through fraud. The defendants obtained stolen credit and debit card information, encoded it onto cards, and then used that information to purchase items at stores. The defendants would then return the items at a different store of the same chain, but they would deceive store workers in order to have the chargeback credited to their own bank accounts.
Court documents also detail how Williams took flights with other co-conspirators to perform fraudulent credit card transactions in various cities in the United States, including Charleston, South Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Richmond, Virginia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Williams and White admitted that they caused between $150,000.00 and $250,000.00 in losses through their own conduct and that of their co-conspirators.
Williams pleaded guilty to four counts of the Third Superseding Indictment: conspiracy to commit access device fraud, possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, possession of device-making equipment, and aggravated identity theft. WHITE pleaded guilty to two counts: conspiracy to commit access device fraud and possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices.
As to the conspiracy charge, both Williams and White face a maximum of five years in prison. As to the charge of possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, Williams and White may receive a maximum of ten years in prison. As to the charge of possession of device making equipment, Williams may receive a maximum of up to fifteen years in prison. As to the charge of aggravated identity theft, Williams must be sentenced to two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentence. Each defendant may also be fined up to $250,000.00 or twice the gross gain or gross loss for each count. Sentencing is set for both defendants on April 30, 2020, before Judge Ashe.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the agencies that contributed to this conviction, which represents a coordinated effort of federal and state law enforcement authorities within the Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force. The Task Force includes representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Louisiana Attorney General's Office, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, New Orleans Police Department, Covington Police Department, Hammond Police Department, Kenner Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Mandeville Police Department, Slidell Police Department, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, St. John The Baptist Sheriff's Office, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Tammany Parish District Attorney's Office, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. State Department, Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. U.S. Attorney Strasser also thanked the Franklin (TN) Police Department, the Mobile Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Minnetonka (MN) Police Department, the Jefferson Parish District.