LAWFUEL – Law Newswire – A man serving a three-year term for identity theft at the California State Prison in Centinela was charged today in a federal criminal complaint with committing aggravated identity theft while incarcerated. The federal case alleges that the prisoner being held at the Imperial County lockup used three-way phone calls arranged by co-schemers outside of prison to convince credit card issuers to send “replacement” cards to members of the ring.
Those charged in the criminal complaint are:
Morocco Curry, also known as “Monica Dupree,” 34, who is currently incarcerated;
Vanieca D. Samuels, 39, of Moreno Valley;
Brenda K. Butler, a.k.a. Brenda Christian, 47, of Moreno Valley; and
Tanya Chambers, a.k.a. Tanya Griffis, 34, of Long Beach.
All four defendants are charged with aggravated identity theft, a federal offense that carries a mandatory penalty of two years in federal prison.
During the execution of federal search warrants this morning, Samuels, Butler and Chambers were arrested by members of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Identity Theft/Economic Crimes Task Force. The defendants who were taken into custody are expected to make their initial court appearances tomorrow afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside.
In addition to the criminal arrests, two men linked to the scheme were taken into custody on suspicion of violating their paroles. Andre Samuels, 42, of Moreno Valley, who until recently was an inmate at Centinela State Prison, and Antoine Anthony Lang, 30, of Moreno Valley, are currently in the custody of state officials.
The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Curry obtained credit cards and personal identifying information on at least four people. This information allowed him to contact credit cards issuers such as American Express and request “replacement” cards that he had “lost.” While state prisoners are only allowed to make collect telephone calls, Curry was able to contact credit card issuers by making collect calls to confederates outside of prison, who would then call or, with Curry, make three-way calls to the credit cards issuers.
In just the past four months, according to the affidavit, Curry and his associates obtained tens of thousands of dollars from companies such as American Express.
Curry will be transferred to federal custody when he finished his state prison sentence, which is expected to be this summer.
An criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
The criminal complaint filed today is the product of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The execution of the search warrants was conducted by members of the ITEC Task Force, including the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; the United States Secret Service; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Joseph N. Akrotirianakis
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