Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Former Officer William Garcia Found Guilty of Credit Card Fraud

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the conviction of William Garcia, 39, a detective with the Sweetwater Police Department.

On April 21, 2014, a jury in U.S. District Court found Garcia guilty on 12 counts. Specifically, the defendant was found guilty of one count conspiring to produce, use, or traffic in one or more counterfeit access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; one count of use of a counterfeit access device, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(1); and ten counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). Garcia faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

At trial, the United States presented evidence documenting Garcia’s improper friendship with a former confidential source. The confidential source, a convicted felon, provided Garcia and another former South Miami Detective Richard Munoz with counterfeit credit cards. During the trial, the source, Munoz, and others testified about Garcia’s possession and use of those cards during shopping trips to Miami-Dade County shopping malls in 2010 and early 2011. During a meeting in late December 2010, Garcia was recorded providing his own personal credit card for use in stealing account numbers and manufacturing counterfeit cards.

Additional evidence at trial showed that Garcia was caught on videotape bringing eight counterfeit credit cards to the residence of the confidential source. During that and other recorded meetings, Garcia explained that he had taken the counterfeit cards from work and that he would share them with the confidential source. During the next two weeks, Garcia was recorded discussing his use of the cards at restaurants, movies, and a mall. Garcia’s presence during the transactions was further documented through use of phone records, placing Garcia’s cell phone in the area of each transaction at the time it occurred.

After the verdict, U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno remanded Garcia pending sentencing on June 26, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in Miami. Munoz, who himself pleaded guilty on March 13, 2014, to related fraud charges, is presently set for sentencing in front of Judge Moreno on May 9, 2014.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force, the FBI Miami Cyber Task Force, and the Sweetwater Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Lacosta and Sarah Schall.

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