New York residents may be interested to learn that, on Nov. 17, a woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and other charges after she was found to be involved in a breach at The Michaels Companies, Inc. The 28-year-old California woman and a co-conspirator reportedly conspired to steal approximately 94,000 debit and credit card numbers.
Prosecutors stated that, in 2011, the woman and her co-conspirators installed devices on the point-of-sale terminals in 80 Michaels stores in multiple states that collected account information. They then reportedly obtained fake bank cards that were connected to the stolen accounts. The two individuals had 179 counterfeit cards in their possession in New Jersey and withdrew more than $400,000 from ATMs.
The woman ultimately also pleaded guilty to of aggravated identity theft in addition to bank fraud conspiracy. She was scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2016. Two others who were also convicted on charges associated with the breach had already been sentenced to five years in prison.
When a person is facing charges for identity theft, the consequences can be severe. For example, a person who was charged with this type of white-collar-crime can face years in prison and have trouble getting back into the workforce later on. A criminal defense attorney may potentially protect the defendant against the charges providing evidence that the person was not involved in the scheme. In some cases, the attorney may challenge the charges if the evidence was illegally obtained or was tampered with. If the evidence against the defendant is strong, the attorney may negotiate an agreement with the prosecution that would involve a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduction in penalties.
Source: Reuters, "California woman pleads guilty over Michaels retailer cards theft", Nate Raymond, Nov. 17, 2015