Fraudster sentenced to prison for more than six years for buying stolen credit cards on the darkweb and using them to buy jewelry.
U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Hasan Howard, 23, of Cleveland, Ohio, to more than six years in prison for various fraud charges. The judge also ordered Howard to pay $261,319.28 in restitution.
In March 2022, Howard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, Howard and his co-defendants, including Robert Nathaniel Andre Thomas, Tyvione Guthery, and Jaelen D. Lattimore, purchased stolen financial information on the darkweb, including credit card numbers and debit card numbers.
Howard created fraudulent credit cards by embossing cards with the stolen information purchased on the darkweb. Then Howard and his co-conspirators would purchase expensive merchandise, including jewelry and watches. In a criminal complaint, an FBI Special Agent wrote that investigators had learned that Howard had a “Joker’s Stash” account.
In one example provided by the Attorney’s Office, Howard, Guthery, and Lattimore purchased a Rolex watch for $19,062 from a jewelry store in Westlake, Ohio. They paid for the watch with a fraudulent credit card. In another example, Howard used a fraudulent credit card to purchase four diamond and gold bracelets from a jewelry store in Canton, Ohio, worth $26,463.
The criminal complaint described one interaction with law enforcement and one of Howard’s co-conspirators:
“On or about January 6, 2021, a fraudulent transaction was reported at Sheiban Jewelers, 16938 Pearl Road, Strongsville, Ohio, belonging to victim J.M (real name known to affiant) for a total loss of $14,500. The fraudulent transaction took place on or about December 19, 2020, in which the store received a call from GUTHERY who stated that he would come to the store on the same date to make a purchase of a Rolex Yacht-Master watch.”
“When GUTHERY arrived, he presented his driver’s license to the employee and provided a credit card for a layaway amount of $7,000. GUTHERY then left the store but returned later with HOWARD; video surveillance shows both GUTHERY and HOWARD entering the store. When GUTHERY and HOWARD returned to the store, they paid the full amount and received the Rolex watch.”
“Surveillance video also captured a Lexus G350 driven by GUTHERY, which was registered to PARRISH. On January 1, 2021, Strongsville Police Department Patrolman John Murphy spoke to GUTHERY on a phone call; the call was recorded. During the conversation, GUTHERY admitted that he was the one who drove to HOWARD in PARRISH’s car to the jewelry store. GUTHERY identified the other male as his cousin HASAN (HOWARD). GUTHERY stated that HOWARD provided GUTHERY with the credit cards and billing address of the victim to GUTHERY. GUTHERY stated that HOWARD also provided PARRISH with stolen credit card information that PARRISH used at a BMW dealership to repair her vehicle in Willoughby Hills, Ohio.”
On May 20, 2021, police arrested Howard and Lattimore after they had purchased more than $20,000 worth of jewelry from jewelers in Aurora, Ohio. Police found an embossing machine and three Rolex watches in Howard’s possession.
Howard and his co-conspirators used stolen credit card information to purchase merchandise at 30 stores, causing $261,319.28 in damages.