One must serve 80 months in prison, another must serve four months in jail
Three Canadians have been ordered to pay over US$4.1 million combined and two of them must serve prison time for their involvement in a wire fraud scheme to acquire personal protective equipment.
31-year-old Steven Mesrop of Richmond Hill, Ontario is alleged to be the ringleader of a group of six other co-conspirators. Mesrop pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Aug. 3, 2021.
At Mesrop’s sentencing, Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti found that Mesrop caused a total loss of about US$3.4 million and attempted to cause an additional loss of about US$2 million.
He was sentenced to serve 80 months in prison and ordered to pay back the money he stole to 39 victims.
Read more: Canadian man pleads guilty for PPE wire fraud
Mirna Mahrous Habib – a 25-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. – was sentenced to serve four months in prison and must pay more than US$683 thousand in restitution to eight victims. Habib pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft on Dec. 2, 2021.
Lastly, 24-year-old Karin Treister from Toronto, must pay US$30 thousand in restitution even though she was not ordered to spend time behind bars. Treister pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on December 9, 2021.
A fourth co-conspirator – 29-year-old Dijon Cornelius Shepard of Los Angeles, California was also sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay US$654 thousand to seven victims. Shepard acted as a courier on behalf of the fraud scheme and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Aug. 13, 2021.
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Law enforcement in Oklahoma in the U.S. first observed the crime when co-conspirators used stolen credit card information from 52 credit cards to purchase tickets to Oklahoma State University athletic events.
They subsequently identified multiple suspects involved in a wide-ranging scheme to use stolen credit card information to purchase event tickets at venues throughout the US and Canada.
The superseding indictment noted that the co-conspirators began targeting US-based businesses selling pandemic-related supplies at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.