Chilean National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Vehicle Break-In and Credit Card Fraud Scheme

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BOISE – A Miami Beach, Florida man was sentenced to two years in federal prison for wire fraud stemming from his participation in a vehicle break-in scheme that victimized individuals and businesses across the country.

According to court records, from August 2020 through February 2021, Matias Ahumada‑Avendano, 31, of Miami Beach, and his co-defendant, Claudia Espinoza, 41, traveled to the Treasure Valley on multiple occasions to commit theft and fraud. They identified unoccupied vehicles parked at trailheads, broke into them, and stole credit cards belonging to the owners. Ahumada‑Avendano and Espinoza then used the victims’ credit cards to purchase gift cards and electronics from retail stores such as Target and Best Buy. Ahumada-Avendano and Espinoza were arrested on April 24, 2021 in Kent County, Michigan while breaking into a vehicle.

On November 22, 2021, Ahumada-Avendano pleaded guilty to wire fraud for his role in the scheme and was held accountable for $157,502.91 in loss for conducting this scheme in states including Florida, Kentucky, Utah, and Idaho. Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Ahumada-Avendano to serve three years of supervised release to follow his prison sentence.

On January 13, 2022, Espinoza pleaded guilty to wire fraud for her participation in the same scheme. She is scheduled for sentencing before Judge Winmill on April 18, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service, Boise Police Department, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Michigan State Police, and loss prevention employees from Best Buy, which led to charges.

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