Three Charged in Fraud Schemes Targeting Home Improvement Retailers

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. –  Federal arrest warrants were executed today against two individuals on charges they allegedly participated in a large-scale conspiracy to defraud Home Depot stores in at least three New England states. A third person alleged to have taken part in the scheme is being sought by law enforcement.

Court documents allege that Samuel Machuca, a/k/a/ Ithier Batista-Rodriguez, a/k/a Angel Garcia-Sanchez, 50, of Attleboro, MA, Luiyi Taveras-Garcia, 33, of Providence, and Abel Bier Romero, 28, of Cranston, used stolen personal identifying information and stolen or fraudulently created business credit accounts to purchase more than $600,000 in building, roofing, electrical, plumbing and other contractor supplies from Home Depot stores in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B Myrus.

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Earlier today, more than $30,000 dollars’ worth of construction materials allegedly obtained fraudulently were recovered by federal agents from a garage in Cranston.

According to court documents, since November 2020, several individuals have contacted Home Depot customer service and  “Pro desks” in the three New England states, placing orders for various construction and contractor supplies. The orders were paid for with fraudulently created or stolen credit account information, including names, credit card numbers, security codes, and phone numbers. Notification was sent to the “customer” at the phone number provided when the order was ready for pick-up. Two or three individuals then picked-up the order, often utilizing the same white truck to transport the materials.

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Samuel Machuca and Luiyi Taveras-Garcia appeared today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. Machuca was ordered detained andTaveras-Garcia was released on unsecured bond on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Abel Bier Romero is similarly charged and is being sought by authorities.

A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.

The matter was investigated by the United States Secret Service New England Cyber Fraud Task Force, with the assistance of the Smithfield Police Department.

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