Orleans Parish Woman Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Credit Card Conspiracy and Identity Theft

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

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LAKISHA WILLIAMS, age 41, of New Orleans, was sentenced today to nine years in prison by U.S. District Judge Barry W. Ashe for charges stemming from her participation in a credit card fraud ring that operated in the New Orleans area. WILLIAMS had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of the third superseding indictment: conspiracy to commit access device fraud, possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, possession of device-making equipment, and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, WILLIAMS and her co-defendants engaged in a scheme to obtain merchandise and cash from stores through fraud. The defendants obtained stolen credit and debit card information, encoded it onto cards, and then used that information to purchase merchandise at stores. The defendants would then return the items at a different store of the same chain, but they would deceive store workers to have the chargeback credited to their own bank accounts.

Court documents also detail how WILLIAMS took flights with other co-conspirators to perform fraudulent transactions in various cities in the United States, including Charleston, South Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Richmond, Virginia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. WILLIAMS had pleaded guilty and admitted to causing losses between $150,000.00 and $250,000.00 through her own conduct and that of her co-conspirators.

For conspiracy to commit access device fraud, Judge Ashe sentenced WILLIAMS to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. As to the charge of possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, Judge Ashe sentenced WILLIAMS to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. For the charge of possession of device making equipment, Judge Ashe sentenced WILLIAMS to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. All these sentences were ordered to run concurrently. For aggravated identity theft, Judge Ashe sentenced WILLIAMS to a mandatory two-year term in prison to be served consecutively to her other sentences, as well as a term of supervised release of one year to run concurrently with the other terms of supervised release. WILLIAMS was also required to pay a mandatory special assessment fee of $100 per count. A restitution hearing to receive any evidence of additional restitution was set by Judge Ashe for August 4, 2022.

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those, like Ms. Williams, who engage in fraudulent schemes that prey on the finances of innocent victims and businesses within our community will be held accountable.” said Leslie Pichon, U.S. Secret Service New Orleans Special Agent in Charge.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the agencies that contributed to this conviction, which represents a coordinated effort of federal and state law enforcement authorities within the Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force. The Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, Covington Police Department, Hammond Police Department, Kenner Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Mandeville Police Department, Slidell Police Department, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. John The Baptist Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany Parish District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. State Department, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. U.S. Attorney Evans also thanked the Franklin (TN) Police Department, the Mobile Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Minnetonka (MN) Police Department, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew R. Payne and K. Paige O’Hale are in charge of the prosecution.