Fresno, California - A federal grand jury returned an eleven-count indictment today against Nahed Mishmish, 46, of Bakersfield, charging him with wire fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme that caused more than $900,000 in losses to the financial institutions, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to the indictment, between Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 15, 2020, Mishmish carried out a scheme to defraud Synchrony Bank, Capital One and other credit card companies and financial institutions. Mishmish obtained personal identifying information of numerous individuals without their authorization and used the information to open credit card accounts. Mishmish allegedly used the cards to pay for personal expenses such as a vehicle lease and rent. The credit accounts were also being used to purchase large amounts of cigarettes at Rite Aid stores.
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI was tipped off that someone in Kern County was creating and using fraudulent credit card accounts, in part to buy large quantities of cigarettes from a Rite Aid store in McFarland. The FBI identified this individual as Mishmish. During a search of Mishmish’s residence, more than 60 cellphones were found and seized. The cellphones were marked with names, personal identifying information, and corresponding credit accounts.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and task force members: the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Bakersfield Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie L. Alsworth is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Mishmish faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison on each count of wire and mail fraud, a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison on each count of aggravated identity theft and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.