A former model, an entrepreneur and a former banker have all pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about an alleged scheme to sell stolen credit card numbers to foreign entities.
The plea deals, signed in federal court in Manhattan, mark the first known cases of financial fraud in which the defendants have been convicted.
The victims are a trio of young women in their early 20s who worked as models, entrepreneurs and bankers in New York, Los Angeles and New Jersey, respectively.
They told the FBI that they had used the stolen numbers to make fraudulent payments to other people.
In their plea agreements, the three defendants said they would not seek to sell their identities or credit card data to a third party.
They said they had no plans to sell the stolen card numbers.
They also said they believed they had already sold the stolen credit cards to foreign individuals.
In addition to the plea agreements for the women, prosecutors have charged a former JPMorgan Chase trader named Stephen Ligman with one count of fraudulently obtaining a financial benefit by deception.
Ligman is accused of lying to investigators about his role in the scheme, including to a federal grand jury.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that Ligmann has been cooperating with authorities.
“Ligmann admitted he lied to federal agents and admitted he knowingly obtained a financial advantage by deception,” the statement said.
“Ligeman has already paid back all of the fraudulent debts, and his criminal record and history make him a prime candidate for rehabilitation.
We will continue to pursue criminal charges against those who defrauded this country.”
A former New York City finance executive who was an assistant to the mayor at the time of the scheme is accused in a separate criminal complaint of having facilitated the scheme.
Prosecutors said that the defendant’s “intent to defraud” and the scheme’s “materiality” were enough to warrant a prison sentence.
Prosecutors have said that they believe that Liggman and his co-conspirators were the victims of a criminal scheme, and they are seeking more than $2.5 million in restitution from Ligeman.