Washington man convicted in MN credit card scheme involving 117 cards

- A Washington man was convicted in a sophisticated credit card scheme involving 117 credit cards that were found in a hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota.

According to the Hennepin County attorney's office, Daniel Negase Asefaw, 31, was convicted of one count of identity theft for aiding and abetting possession of other people’s credit account information with intent to engage in unlawful activity. He is the first of six co-defendants to be convicted in this case.

On March 23, 2016, police were called to a Fed Ex facility about a suspicious package mailed from Seattle to a hotel in Bloomington. According to the criminal complaint, investigators found multiple blank credit cards in the package, hidden inside a pair of tennis shoes.

A controlled delivery was conducted at the hotel, and around noon, “Ali Khalifa,” later identified as Hassan Ameen Khan, came to the front desk to claim it. He was then arrested along with five other men, including Asefaw.

Officers went to Khan's hotel room where they found multiple credit cards, laptop computers and a credit card embossing machine. 

Police recovered a total of 117 cards in the hotel room, and there were more than 80 credit card account numbers belonging to other people.

According to the charges, credit card fraud suspects often use blank credit cards they get in the mail to emboss and embed unknowing victims’ legitimate credit card information and then use the cloned cards to make multiple large purchases.

Asefaw was taken into custody and will be sentenced on Oct. 4. He is expected to receive 98 months in prison. Trials for the other five co-defendants begin Sept. 25.

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