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United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that defendants Ming Li and Zhou Ru Tan have been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay fines in connection with their roles in a counterfeit credit card scam. Mr. Li was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine as well as more than $10,000 in restitution for possessing counterfeit access devices. Ms. Tan, who had a minor role in the scheme, was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. These sentences were the result of a four-year investigation by the United States Secret Service in coordination with local law enforcement in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

Mr. Li, 35, of El Monte, California, was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on June 15, 2004. He was charged with possession and use of counterfeit access devices as well as possession of access-making equipment. Mr. Li pleaded guilty to possessing over fifteen counterfeit credit cards. Mr. Li also admitted to using counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase merchandise in retail stores in the Bay Area that resulted in a total loss of between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000.

Ms. Tan, 36, of Richmond, California, was indicted by the same grand jury with the same violations of federal law and pled guilty to the same violation as Mr. Li. Ms. Tan admitted that her actions in using counterfeit credit cards resulted in loss of more than $5,000.

"These sentences embody the United States Attorney’s Office ongoing commitment to work closely with the United States Secret Service to investigate and prosecute credit card fraud," U.S. Attorney Scott N. Schools stated. "The possession and use of counterfeit credit cards is a scourge on our modern society. Counterfeit credit cards threaten the integrity of our banking system and result in higher costs to businesses and consumers. Those who choose to engage in such fraud will be prosecuted, and if convicted, face lengthy jail time. The Department of Justice commends the dedication of the Secret Service in bringing Mr. Li and Ms. Tan to account for their crimes."


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