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Three Honolulu visitors plead guilty to $325K credit card scam


The last three of five Brooklyn, N.Y. residents indicted by an Oahu grand jury in connection with a high-end retail shopping spree paid for with counterfeit credit cards pleaded guilty Thursday in Circuit Court, according to a news release issued by Honolulu’s Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Sean Khani, Isatta Bassie and Shawnese Adams, each charged with multiple counts of first-degree identity theft, will receive 20-year prison terms when they are sentenced on May 13.

Last year, co-defendant Falysha Pierre-Lys pleaded guilty to numerous counts of first-degree identity theft and was sentenced to 20 years. Tamel Vaughn also pleaded guilty to several counts of identity theft last year and was sentenced to jail followed by court supervision.

In April 2012, the defendants traveled from New York to Honolulu. Over a period of five days, they used counterfeit credit cards to purchase merchandise at Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Ben Bridge, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Kaimana Kea Rolex, along with several other stores and restaurants.

At Chanel alone, the group racked up more than $80,000 in fraudulent transactions. At Ben Bridge, the fraudulent transactions topped $50,000. In all, they conducted, or attempted to conduct, fraudulent transactions that totaled more than $325,000.

According to the release, the group victimized 17 people, 14 companies and three major credit card companies.

The indictment was made possible by Act 325, which was passed by Hawaii’s Legislature in 2012 and authorizes judges to issue search warrants for records located in other states. In this case, investigators were able to obtain email, cell site data, social network communications and financial data.

The defendants were located in New York and Aruba and extradited to Hawaii in a multi-agency operation that involved the prosecutor’s office, Honolulu police, the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals, the Department of Homeland Security and the New York Police Department.

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