Alhambra and Monterey Park residents were arrested Friday for an alleged counterfeit credit card scheme to buy high-end electronics from Wal-Mart stores throughout the Los Angeles area, according to the United States Attorney's Office.
“We believe this theft ring is responsible for close to a half million dollars in financial losses,” Claude Arnold, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in Los Angeles, said. “These kinds of scams cause incalculable harm to both retailers and consumers. We need to send a message to those who perpetrate such rip offs that they will likewise pay a price.”
The defendants — Renjie Huang, 51, of Alhambra, and Yong Xu, 25, of Monterey Park — were both Chinese nationals. They "used counterfeit credits cards produced in China, along with stolen credit card information, to purchase expensive high-end electronics from Wal-Mart stores throughout Southern California," according to the U.S. Attorney's office. "The electronics included iPods, laptop computers, cameras and Nintendo Gameboys."
Friday morning’s arrests are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.
If convicted, they each would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Both men pled not guilty to the charges in the indictment.
A second Alhambra resident, 28-year-old Gong Xu (who is not related to Yong Xu), was arrested earlier this year according to authorities and is allegedly involved with the scheme. The indictment notes that Xu was in possession of a list Wal-Mart stores, along with credit card numbers belonging to nearly 200 credit cards holders in the U.S. and overseas.