Luzerne County Couple Sentenced For Identity Theft And Credit Card Fraud Offenses Committed Against Their Neighbors

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

WILLIAMSPORT – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Ernest Stonebraker, age 33, and his wife, Theresa Stonebraker, age 42, both of Berwick, Pennsylvania, were sentenced on March 3, 2022, by Chief United States District Judge Matthew W. Brann, to terms of imprisonment as a result of their participation in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme.  Ernest Stonebraker received a sentence of 48 months, while his wife and coconspirator, Theresa Stonebraker received a sentence of 30 months.  Each defendant was also ordered to serve a term of supervised release following imprisonment and to make restitution in the amount of $8,039.55, which represents the amount of unreimbursed loss suffered by their victims.   

According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, from March 2019 to May 2019, the Stonebrakers used the personal identification information of their neighbors, which they obtained from mail that they stole from their neighbors’ mail boxes, and through other means, including by accessing victims’ MyGeisinger accounts, to open credit card accounts in their victims’ names.  The couple then used the fraudulently obtained credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars of goods and services from local retailers.  In all, the Stonebrakers either victimized or attempted to victimize (by compiling the personal information of) approximately 70 of their fellow residents of Luzerne and Columbia Counties.  The total amount of loss attributable to the scheme was approximately $52,000.  

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Salem Township Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery St John prosecuted the case.

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