Two Sentenced in Schemes to Defraud Home Improvement Stores
PROVIDENCE, R.I (STL.News) Two Providence men who admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud credit card companies and home improvement stores out of more $160,000 were sentenced to federal prison today, announced United Sates Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Jose Brens, 40, was sentenced to fifteen months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $140,578. He pleaded guilty on December 13, 2021, to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and six counts of access device fraud. Jose R. Delarosa, 45, was sentenced to twelve months and one day of incarceration and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $20,141. He pleaded guilty on December 16, 2021, to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and four counts of access device fraud.
At the time of their guilty pleas, Brens and Delarosa admitted that they and others unlawfully obtained credit card information of other individuals, and used that information to purchase construction tools and building supplies from at least six Home Depot and Lowes stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
According to charging documents, the scheme employed by Brens, Delarosa, and others came to light when, in September 2018, a Smithfield resident contacted the Smithfield Police Department to report that his credit card information had been used without his permission to purchase $2,100 worth of construction items and tools at a nearby Home Depot. A joint investigation with the United States Secret Service determined that Brens, Delarosa, and others were working together to carry out this and similar schemes in multiple stores, repeatedly making purchases of between $1,000 and $4,000.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Terrence P. Donnelly.