FOUR DEFENDANTS SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY TO FRAUDULENTLY ACQUIRE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND EVENT TICKETS
Defendants Collectively Ordered to Serve 104 months in Prison and Pay Nearly $3.5 Million in Restitution to Victims
OKLAHOMA CITY – Four defendants have been sentenced for their participation in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme to fraudulently acquire personal protective equipment and event tickets, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
This case came to the attention of law enforcement in Oklahoma when co-conspirators used stolen credit card information from 52 credit cards to purchase $678,842.03 worth of tickets to Oklahoma State University athletic events, including the November 30, 2019, Bedlam football game between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
Law enforcement subsequently identified multiple suspects involved in a wide-ranging scheme to use stolen credit card information to purchase event tickets at venues throughout the United States and Canada, including Madison Square Garden, as alleged in the Superseding Indictment. According to the Superseding Indictment, co-conspirators began targeting U.S.-based businesses selling pandemic related supplies at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Four of the co-conspirators have since appeared in Oklahoma City federal court, have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme, and have now been sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti.
On October 7, 2022, STEVEN MESROP, 31, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to serve 80 months in prison. Mesrop was alleged to be the ringleader of at least six other co-conspirators involved in the scheme. Mesrop pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on August 3, 2021. At Mesrop’s sentencing, Judge DeGiusti found that Mesrop caused a total loss of $3,463,253.85 and attempted to cause an additional loss of $2,032,732.54. Judge DeGiusti ordered Mesrop to pay restitution in the amount of $3,463,253.85 to 39 victims.
On July 27, 2022, DIJON CORNELIUS SHEPARD, 29, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison. Shepard acted as a courier on behalf of the fraud scheme. Shepard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on August 13, 2021. Judge DeGiusti ordered Shepard to pay restitution in the amount of $654,609.11 to seven victims.
On October 31, 2022, MIRNA MAHROUS HABIB, 25, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to serve four months in prison. Habib pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft on December 2, 2021. Judge DeGiusti ordered Habib to pay $683,243.23 in restitution to eight victims.
On December 9, 2021, KARIN TREISTER, 24, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on December 9, 2021. Although Judge DeGiusti did not order Treister to serve prison time, she was ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Oklahoma City Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations New York Office El Dorado Task Force, the New York City Police Department, and the Irvine (California) Police Department, with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Farrior.
The public is reminded charges against remaining defendants in the case are merely accusations and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reference is made to court filings for further information