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April 5, 2023Chicago, IL, United StatesDocument and Benefit Fraud

Stolen credit cards and mail theft conspiracy land man in prison after HSI Chicago investigation

Operation Cash on Delivery yields 11 indictments after conspirators stole more than 657 credit cards and racked up $462,719 in fraudulent charges

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago sentenced the ringleader of a mail and identity theft conspiracy to nine years in federal prison following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation. The sentencing follows the man’s conviction for stealing U.S. Postal Service customers’ credit cards from the mail and using their personal identifying information to make unauthorized purchases with the stolen cards.

A federal grand jury indicted Davey Hines, 30, of Naperville, on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of theft or receipt of stolen mail, four counts of unauthorized access device fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft in February 2021 for events that occurred between June 2018 and December 2019. Ten other people were also indicted for their involvement in the scheme as the result of a multiagency investigation dubbed Operation Cash on Delivery. The investigation identified U.S. Postal Service employees who stole credit cards and other financial instruments and provided them to Hines and others in exchange for cash or other items of value. Hines, who also recruited most of the U.S. Postal Service employees, then worked with his co-defendants to unlawfully obtain customers’ personal identifying information, such as dates of birth and Social Security numbers, and fraudulently activate the stolen cards. Over the course of the 19-month conspiracy, Hines and his co-conspirators stole more than 657 credit cards and made more than $462,719 in fraudulent purchases.

“The success of this investigation highlights the importance and necessity of law enforcement partnerships," said HSI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Sean Fitzgerald. “This calculated and cooperative approach among federal, state and local law enforcement partners illustrates our commitment to protect the public from these criminal networks who seek to profit from defrauding the citizens of our communities.”

Hines pleaded guilty to four counts charging conspiracy, receipt of stolen mail, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft on July 8, 2022. On April 3, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang sentenced Hines to108 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Chang also ordered Hines pay restitution to the victim financial institutions that issued the stolen credit cards. Hines committed the offenses while on court-supervised release following a prior federal conviction for bank fraud in 2015.

Fitzgerald, acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Morris Pasqual, Inspector in Charge of the Chicago Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Ruth M. Mendonca, and Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, Central Area Field Office Scott Pierce announced the sentence. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Madriñan and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paige Nutini and Kirsten Moran represented the government.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat mail and identity theft in our community on Twitter @HSIChicago.