FBI arrests man in connection with elaborate credit card fraud scheme

FBI arrests man in connection with elaborate credit card fraud scheme
Published: Mar. 28, 2016 at 2:24 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 28, 2016 at 10:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 34-year-old Honolulu man accused of obtaining credit cards using the identities of more than 40 people was arrested Monday morning.

A criminal complaint said Steven Zubler, who moved to Hawaii in 2011, purchased more than $100,000 in goods and services with fraudulent credit cards.

As part of a sophisticated scheme, he allegedly opened accounts using stolen information, temporarily re-routed victims' mail to a post office box, and activated the cards.

"As identity theft schemes go, the one alleged in this criminal complaint was pretty elaborate," FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said. "It involved burner phones, forwarding addresses, credit cards and other things so this was not a tiny crime. This was a massive crime.

"If the allegations in the criminal complaint are in fact true and the evidence supports it, this could be one of the most prolific identity thefts that we've seen in the state of Hawaii."

According to the complaint, Capital One has associated at least 45 fraudulent credit cards with Zubler's cell phone number.

"There's generally two victims -- there's the bank who issues the credit cards who is getting ripped off, and more important to us oftentimes, there's people out there whose identities are being stolen who have to spend long, long amounts of time repairing their credit and trying to express to the credit card companies that 'I'm not the one who ran up these charges,'" Simon said.

In addition to purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and online retailers, Zubler is accused of buying precious metals and gift cards that were then re-sold on the secondary market.

Zubler was arrested for "access device fraud," a crime with a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

He appeared in a Honolulu courtroom Monday afternoon. He must now wear an electronic tracking device while he stays at a halfway house. He is due back in court on April 11.

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