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Financial Crimes

Salvadoran national sentenced to 15 years in prison in credit card fraud case

LOS ANGELES – A Salvadoran national who was convicted of credit card fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods and identity theft has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for causing victims to suffer losses of more than $100,000.

Jose Rolando Renderos, 39, who last resided in Montebello, but has been in federal custody since Feb. 1, 2013, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins. In October 2013, a federal jury convicted Renderos of various federal charges related to a credit card manufacturing scheme.

The charges stem from a probe by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Secret Service, with substantial assistance provided by U.S Customs and Border Protection.

Renderos was apprehended in February 2013 after he received a box of more than 3,000 counterfeit credit cards imported from China and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through the San Gabriel Valley. All told, authorities seized more than 100,000 counterfeit credit cards and credit card numbers at a credit card manufacturing plant Renderos operated in Montebello.

"Credit card fraud and identity theft impact the financial security, privacy and emotional well-being of millions of Americans every year," said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. "Mr. Renderos is a repeat offender who callously disregarded the effect that his schemes had on the lives of his unfortunate victims and now he will be serving a lengthy and richly deserved sentence in federal prison."

"Identity theft and credit card fraud are growing at an alarming rate, posing a real threat to consumers and financial institutions nationwide," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. "As this sentencing shows, those who perpetrate such schemes face serious consequences. HSI will continue to work closely with its federal law enforcement partners to aggressively target those who seek to undermine the integrity of our financial system and compromise our quality of life."

At trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence Renderos had lived a luxurious lifestyle financed by the credit card fraud. The criminal proceeds paid for cosmetic surgery for himself and his girlfriend, VIP tickets to Lakers and Clippers games, and designer handbags and shoes.

"Our success in this case and other similar investigations is a result of our close work with our law enforcement partners," said Joseph Beaty, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service Los Angeles Field Office. "The Secret Service worked closely with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations to share information and resources that ultimately brought Jose Rolando Renderos to justice."

During the investigation, authorities learned Renderos obtained valid credit card numbers by installing "skimmers" inside gas pumps throughout Southern California. He used others to block cameras and distract gas station employees while he did the installation. Six other defendants were also prosecuted as part of the scheme, including his girlfriend, his 18-year-old son, his brother, and others who purchased products for Renderos using the counterfeit credit cards.

Renderos was previously convicted of credit card fraud in the California courts. When he was arrested last year, Renderos was a fugitive wanted by federal authorities for absconding from supervised release imposed following his conviction for interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. Renderos was also wanted by local authorities for absconding while being prosecuted in Los Angeles County on credit card fraud charges. While a fugitive, Renderos assumed the identities of several Puerto Rican men to hide from authorities.