Washington man convicted in sophisticated credit card scheme
Hennepin County District Court Judge Lyonel Norris found a man from Washington guilty of identity theft, which was part of a sophisticated credit card scheme, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.
Daniel Negase Asefaw, 31, was convicted of one count of identity theft for aiding and abetting possession of other people’s credit account information with intent to engage in unlawful activity. He is the first of six co-defendants to be convicted in this case.
According to the criminal complaint, on March 23, 2016, airport police were called to a Fed Ex facility about a suspicious package mailed from Seattle to a hotel in Bloomington. Upon searching the package, investigators found multiple blank credit cards hidden inside a pair of tennis shoes.
The complaint states that a controlled delivery was conducted at the hotel. A routine call was made to room 620 by a hotel staff member who said a package had been delivered. At 11:45 a.m. “Ali Khalifa,” later identified as Hassan Ameen Khan, came to the front desk to claim it. Khan was arrested and additional officers went to the room where they found in plain sight multiple credit cards, lap top computers, and a credit card embossing machine. Five men, included Asefaw, were arrested.
Police recovered a total of 117 cards in the hotel room and there were more than 80 credit card account numbers belonging to other people. According to the charges, credit card fraud suspects commonly use blank credit cards they have received in the mail to emboss and embed unknowing victims’ legitimate credit card information and use the cloned cards to make multiple large purchases.
Asefaw was taken into custody and will be sentenced on Oct. 4. He is expected to receive 98 months in prison. Trials for the other five co-defendants begin Sept. 25.
Criminal Compliant (PDF)