BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A couple from Wasco was arrested Thursday after being indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud, access device fraud and identity theft in connection with a credit card fraud scheme, according to the Department of Justice.
Between February of 2016 and August of 2022 Miguel Leyva, 35, and Karina Gutierrez, 32, both of Wasco allegedly stole personally identifiable information of individuals, according to court documents.
Some of the personally identifiable information was allegedly obtained from the healthcare providers where Gutierrez worked, according to department officials.
Leyva and Gutierrez then allegedly used the identifiable information to obtain fraudulent credit cards in those identities of the individuals, according to officials. The couple used checks that had been stolen from trucking companies and more to access their bank accounts.
In total, the couple’s scheme caused an actual loss of over $825,000 to banks, according to the Department of Justice. Leyva and Gutierrez spent the proceeds on automobile accessories, gardening equipment, concert tickets, designer clothing and more.
Most of the time they sold the merchandise on social media sites for cash, according to department officials.
If both are convicted they face a $1 million fine for each of the conspiracy and bank fraud charges, a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the access device fraud charges according to DOJ.