Cleveland Heights Man Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay $177k in Restitution for Credit Card Fraud Scheme

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

CLEVELAND – Carlos Dashawn Brown, 28, of Bowling Green and Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was sentenced on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, to 38 months in prison and ordered to pay $177,716.07 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. after Brown pleaded guilty to the unauthorized use of an access device, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

“This defendant preyed upon disadvantaged individuals and depleted the savings of an elderly victim, all in an effort to make a quick buck for himself,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler.  “Law enforcement in this region will not stand for the targeting of vulnerable populations in our community.”

“Committing credit card fraud, bank fraud and identity theft against vulnerable populations is nothing short of a heartless crime,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Gregory Nelsen.  “Mr. Brown’s actions are appalling. This sentence underscores the commitment of the FBI to find and investigate predatory behavior by nefarious individuals.  The FBI is committed to protecting every American from fraudsters, whether one person or a network of criminals, through our work with federal, state and local partners.“

“This case is an example of the well-coordinated efforts of law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect vulnerable and older Americans from financial exploitation,” said Inspector In Charge Lesley Allison for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.   “The Inspection Service appreciates the steadfast dedication from our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in bringing those who perpetrate these scams to justice.”

“This sentence demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable those who intentionally misuse the Social Security numbers of others for their own personal gain,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.  “Mr. Brown’s criminal actions brought financial harm upon vulnerable individuals.  I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their investigative efforts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.” 

According to court documents, from April 2014 to January 2019, Brown perpetrated a credit card fraud scheme using the personal identifying information of multiple victims.  These victims were vulnerable due to their age and/or mental condition. 

As part of his scheme, Brown, without authorization, used the personal identifying information of these victims to open credit card accounts and make purchases, including travel, expensive goods and a vehicle.  Brown also stole more than $60,000 from one elder victim’s pension account and fraudulently caused multiple banks and creditors to issue Brown over $117,000 in refund checks to which he was not entitled.

In total, Brown caused an approximate loss of  $177,716.07 to all victims in the scheme.

This case was investigated by the Cleveland FBI, United States Postal Service Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG).   This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Seabury Gould.