Shu K. Chen, 38, of the People’s Republic of China, was charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of access device fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said in a press release Monday.
Chen faces up to 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and access device fraud charges and a consecutive two-year sentence for each of the aggravated identity theft charges, plus a $250,000 fine, up to three years supervised release and restitution.
Chen was arrested by the Collinsville Police Department on Dec. 12, 2014, at a Walmart in Collinsville for using counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase gift cards. Further investigation revealed that he had also used counterfeit credit cards the day before at the same Walmart and that he was traveling around the area with another individual. Additional information provided to the court in a criminal complaint indicated that Chen, with the assistance of another individual, had used counterfeit credit cards to make purchases at retail locations in other jurisdictions. The credit cards were encoded on the magnetic strip with legitimate credit card account numbers of area residents who were victimized. Chen provided a false New Jersey driver’s license at the time of the arrest in the name of Chang Zhang, which was the name embossed on the front of the counterfeit credit cards.
The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation and the Collinsville Police Department with the assistance of several other local police departments and the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith.