Three Canadians Sentenced by US Court for PPE Wire Fraud
Three Canadians from Richmond Hill, Toronto, and Mississauga have been sentenced for their involvement in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. They used stolen credit cards to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) and then sell it at a much higher price.
Steven Mesrop, a 31-year-old man from Richmond Hill, Mirna Mahrous Habib, a 25-year-old man from Mississauga, and Karin Treister, a 24-year-old woman from Toronto pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scheme and have been sentenced by Timothy D. DeGiusti, Chief United States District Judge. Steven was allegedly the ringleader of this scheme. The trio used stolen credit card information to purchase PPE and event tickets in North America and then sell them at a higher price.
The three have been asked to pay major fines and two of them have been given jail time as well. Steven was offered 80 months in prison and has been asked to pay $3,463,253.85 USD to 39 victims as restitution. He caused a loss of $3,463,253.85 USD and further attempted to cause an additional loss of $2,032,732.54 USD. He has been in custody since his arrest in March of last year.
Habib will have to spend four months in prison and pay $683,243.23 USD to eight victims. Treister will pay $30,000 USD but will not serve any jail time. The case study was released by United States Attorney Office.
During the early days of the pandemic when supplies like toilet paper, masks, sanitizers, and other products were in high demand, the accused purchased large amounts of these items using stolen credit cards and then sold them to third parties. Reportedly, they bought around $18,000 USD worth of toilet paper from a supplier. The group was allegedly operational even before the pandemic. They used 52 stolen credit cards and 21 different email accounts to impersonate people and purchase event tickets. They operate in Canada, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, and Greece.