Final suspect sentenced in Chicken Express credit fraud scheme - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Final suspect sentenced in Chicken Express credit fraud scheme

Christopher Michael. Photo Source: Smith County Jail. Christopher Michael. Photo Source: Smith County Jail.

Released by The US Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Texas:

TYLER, Texas – A 26-year-old Malakoff, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Christopher Michael pleaded guilty on May 10, 2011, to access device fraud and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis.  Michael was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $94,843.25.

According to information presented in court, on Aug. 18, 2010, a federal search warrant was executed at Michael's residence, during which 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.

Nathan Michael, Pickrell and Davis have all pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. 

This case is being investigated by the Tyler Police Department, 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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