Released by The U.S. Attorney's Office-Eastern District of Texas:
TYLER, Texas – A 26-year-old Malakoff, Texas man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Christopher Michael pleaded guilty to attempting to access device fraud today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.
According to information presented in court, on Aug. 18, 2010, a federal search warrant was executed at Michael's residence. During the search, law enforcement officers recovered counterfeit charge card making equipment, hundreds of counterfeit charge cards, and cash value cards. A forensic analysis of the equipment revealed that over 6,500 victim entries were fraudulently obtained by Michael. Further investigation revealed that Christopher Michael, his brother, Nathan Michael, Elizabeth Pickrell and Corey Davis conspired together to commit access device fraud in Henderson and Smith counties. The four defendants obtained goods and services by using fraudulent credit card account numbers obtained through the internet and at Chicken Express in Tyler, Texas, where Pickrell was employed at the time of the fraud. According to evidence, over 500 accounts were compromised in Tyler alone. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Nov. 3, 2010, charging the four individuals with federal crimes.
Christopher Michael faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing and possible restitution in the amount of $100,000.00. A sentencing date has not been set. Pickrell pleaded guilty on Apr. 5, 2011 and is awaiting sentencing. Nathan Michael and Corey Davis are set for trial on June 7, 2011.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, the Athens Police Department, the Caney City Police Department, the Longview Police Department, the Mesquite Police Department, the Terrell Police Department, the Waco Police Department, the Corsicana Police Department, the Waxahachie Police Department, the Van Zandt County Precinct 4 Constable, Wal-Mart Stores Asset Protection and Southside Bank and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.
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