CONCORD – Sean Crockett, 41, of Lebanon, Maine, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for bank fraud, United States Attorney Jane E. Young announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Crockett used other people’s identities to open merchant accounts and used those accounts to process fraudulent credit card payments. Merchant accounts are bank accounts for businesses that allow them to accept payments by debit or credit card.
To execute the scheme, Crockett used altered bank and incorporation records, false tax documents, and other persons’ identities to apply for and open merchant bank accounts for companies Crockett controlled. Crockett paid some of these persons to use their identities to open these accounts. Others did not know Crockett and never gave permission to him to open the merchant accounts.
Crockett then used stolen credit card information to process fraudulent transactions. Crockett withdrew the funds soon after they were deposited. Later the credit card holders disputed the transactions, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of “chargebacks” to those merchant accounts. Normally, when chargebacks occur the funds are withdrawn from the merchant account. In this case, however, because Crockett had already withdrawn the funds, the bank was forced to pay the chargebacks. Because of this, the bank routinely closed Crockett’s merchant accounts. To continue the scheme, Crockett opened new merchant accounts using other peoples’ identities.
In addition to his prison sentence, Crockett was ordered to pay $145,289.01 in restitution and will be under three years of supervised release following the completion of his sentence.
“Financial crimes cause serious harm to victims and deprive them of their hard-earned money,” said U.S. Attorney Young. “Through this deceitful scheme, the defendant defrauded his victims and prevented financial institutions from clawing back his ill-gotten gains. To stop this type of criminal activity, we work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute fraudsters and other white-collar criminals.”
“Today Sean Crockett learned his fate for orchestrating a sophisticated fraud scheme using other people’s identities to open accounts to evade detection so he could then commit more fraud, harming his victims and forcing them to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary losses,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “What he did is inexcusable, and the FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to tackle these types of financial crimes and bring their perpetrators to justice.”
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Hunter and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen.