Hasan Howard, 23, of Cleveland, was sentenced Wednesday July 6, 20222 by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi to more than six years in prison and ordered to pay $261,319.28 in restitution after pleading guilty to led a conspiracy that bought stolen credit and debit card information from the dark web and used it to buy expensive watches, chains, jewelry and services from Northeast Ohio outlets .
Howard pleaded guilty in March 2022 to conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, from September to May 2020, Howard recruited a number of co-conspirators in Cleveland and elsewhere, including co-defendants Robert Nathaniel Andre Thomas, Tyvione Guthery and Jaelen D. Lattimore, to participate in a scheme that bought stolen credit and debit card information. from the dark web and used it to buy expensive jewelry and services from outlets in northeast Ohio.
As part of the conspiracy, Howard used the stolen financial information to create fraudulent credit and debit cards, which he then provided to his co-conspirators. Howard and the others would then use the cards to make purchases of expensive goods and services, including jewelry. Howard and the co-conspirators purchased the items over the phone or in stores, using fraudulent ID cards embossed with other people’s stolen information.
In one case, court documents show that Howard, Guthery and Lattimore bought a Rolex watch from a jewelry store in Westlake, Ohio, worth $19,062 using a fraudulent credit card. In another case, court records show Howard again used a fraudulent credit card to purchase four diamond and gold bracelets from a jewelry store in Canton, Ohio, worth $26,463.
After obtaining the jewels, Howard frequently sold the stolen items to others and used the proceeds for his benefit and to pay off his co-conspirators.
Howard was arrested on May 20, 2021, along with co-defendant Lattimore, after purchasing more than $20,000 worth of items from jewelers in Aurora, Ohio. At the time of the arrest, court documents indicate that Howard and Lattimore had in their possession a credit card embossing machine and three Rolex watches.
In total, court records show Howard and the other accomplices made fraudulent purchases at approximately 30 stores and caused a total loss of $261,319.28.
Co-defendants Thomas, Guthery and Lattimore each pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme.
This investigation was carried out by the FBI and the police of Avon, Westlake, Aurora and Cleveland. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryson N. Gillard.