Former soldier gets prison for Army-related credit-card fraud
Erie Times-News, Pa.
ERIE, Pa. — A 23-year-old Erie man who served 13 months in the Army was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison on Monday for stealing the credit-card numbers of 32 fellow soldiers.
Joshua R. Raines got the numbers by hacking a computer program and used them to make $10,080 in online purchases from August 2009 until shortly after his indictment in December 2011, the government said.
The items Raines bought included CDs, brass knuckles, games and a fishnet halter and stockings for women he knew. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which sells merchandise to members of the armed services, issued the credit cards to those in the military.
Raines "served with them, and then he stole their IDs. He stole from his peers to buy garbage," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Sanner said in court.
Raines intended to buy as much as $60,000 in merchandise, but many of the transactions were tagged as fraudulent and failed, Sanner said.
Raines, who worked on tanks as an enlisted soldier, was stationed in South Korea when he received a general discharge in August 2008. He ran afoul of his superiors for marrying a South Korean national without letting the Army know first, according to testimony.
Raines, of the 300 block of West Third Street, pleaded guilty in April to two felony counts of access-device fraud. He told U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin he learned from his mistakes, which resulted in a lengthy criminal record as a juvenile and an adult.
"I chose the easy wrong over the hard right," Raines said.
McLaughlin sentenced Raines on the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines, which called for a prison term of 15 months to 21 months. Raines got credit for the nearly eight months he has served in prison since he was detained in the federal case. McLaughlin ordered him to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution.
Raines wanted a sentence of a year and a day. McLaughlin sentenced him to more time, but less than the 21 months Sanner requested. Raines, McLaughlin said, seemed sincere in pledging to reform, but had "a horrendous track record."
The only time Raines was not in trouble with the law, according to testimony, was when he was in the Army.