(Source: FBI) – ATLANTA—Boris Toumasian, 25, of Glendale, California, who stole credit and debit card information from BP gas station customers and then used the information to create counterfeit cards, withdraw money from the customers’ bank accounts, and buy electronics, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. to serve five years in federal prison on charges of conspiracy, credit card fraud, and aggravated identity theft. At the conclusion of the sentencing, the judge ordered the United States Marshals to take Toumasian into custody.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “People don’t expect that when they swipe their credit card at a gas station, they are handing over their credit card information to crooks. Identity theft wreaks havoc on its victims, and today’s prison sentence reflects the seriousness of this crime.”
“As advances in technology continue to aid those who prey on unsuspecting members of the public, the Secret Service and its federal, state, and local counterparts will continue to combine their investigative capabilities to pursue the offenders,” said Reginald G. Moore Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service-Atlanta Field Office. “As in this case, the perceived anonymity that comes from committing crimes from behind a computer screen disappears when those who victimize are brought to justice.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, stated, “Skimming devices such as that used by the defendant and his associates can victimize many unsuspecting people in a very short period of time. While today’s sentencing was the result of an extensive and lengthy investigation, federal authorities are still pursuing others identified as being involved in this criminal scheme and any information from the public regarding their whereabouts are welcomed.”
Toumasian was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $86,612.73. Toumasian was convicted of these charges on October 11, 2011, after pleading guilty.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: In 2008, Toumasian worked at a BP gas station located at 11425 Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta, Georgia. Along with two alleged co-conspirators, Toumasian installed a skimming device at the gas station that recorded the credit and debit card numbers of customers who visited the store and used their cards. The device also recorded the customers’ personal identification numbers (PINs). Toumasian and his co-conspirators then transferred the stolen card numbers to the magnetic stripes on American Express gift cards. They used the altered gift cards to withdraw money from the customers’ bank accounts at ATMs and to purchase electronics at stores. Law enforcement has identified over 175 victims of this scheme.
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Life After Identity Theft
With identity theft becoming the #1 growing crime in the United States, it is a lot more common than one might think. Millions of people become victims to identity theft everyday and the numbers continue to grow annually. It is much like a PC virus and often it is too late once the virus has been discovered! It can be controlled and slowed down but can also come back out of nowhere all over again!
The good news is that recovering from identity theft is not as painful of a process as most people would imagine. With the credit card laws and policies in place today, disputing and recovering stolen funds from fraudulent credit card transactions are a fairly simple process. By simply notifying the card issuer to alert them of your mishap, most banks will reverse the funds back into your account immediately to prevent the consumer from suffering while an investigation is done to make sure that it was indeed fraudulent and done without your consent.
So now what? You have recovered your money from the fraudulent purchases that were made by the identity thieves. Who is to say that they will never open more accounts under your name and put you through round 2? You must take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening!
- The first would include filing an identity theft report with your local police station or within the city limits where you believe this crime may have occurred.
- The next step is to notify the credit bureaus and have them place a fraud alert on your credit. Be sure to include your phone number when placing a fraud alert on your credit. This alerts any lenders that run your credit in the future that they should take additional steps to verify your identity as well as contact you by phone at the number that is listed on your credit report. Be sure to include your ID Theft report when submitting your fraud alerts. This will ensure that your fraud alert is posted for 7 years instead of the standard 90 days.
- Hopefully you are lucky enough to handle the matter efficiently and fast enough to prevent any future repercussions. If you are like the millions of other people who have had their credit reports tarnished from the after effects of identity theft, there is a solution.
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