By Alex Bridges
A man involved in a scheme to use stolen credit card data to buy cigarettes must serve prison time before his deportation.
Judge Michael F. Urbanski sentenced Mamadou Dian Moucdar Diallo in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on Tuesday to one year and three months in prison. Urbanski also ordered Diallo delivered to immigration officials for deportation proceedings and shall remain outside the United States.
Diallo also must pay $9,332.52 in restitution, according to online court records.
Urbanski sentenced co-defendant Ishmail Bah to serve two years of probation, no incarceration, with six months of home confinement for committing one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Bah must pay $4,885.84 in restitution, jointly and severally with another co-defendant.
Defense attorney Roland Santos represented Diallo.
Authorities have said in court documents that Diallo used a computer to encode credit cards with account information and numbers obtained by fraud. The scheme then involved using the cards to buy hundreds of cartons of cigarettes in Woodstock and elsewhere.
A statement of facts filed in Diallo's case notes that he and two co-defendants tried to buy cigarettes at the Sheetz gas station in Woodstock on Dec. 19, 2011, using multiple credit cards. The cards had been re-encoded with fraudulently obtained account information and numbers.
An off-duty police officer at the scene contacted law enforcement agents who then apprehended the individuals, according to the statement. Similar activity occurred three days earlier. A search of the defendants and their vehicle yielded 45 re-encoded credit or gift cards containing fraudulently obtained information, according to the statement. Diallo had five such cards that video footage showed he tried to use.
Bah, also known as Idriss Mansary, pleaded guilty to the single count of conspiracy in an agreement reached between his counsel, Andrea S. Lantz Harris, and the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Lee. The agreement called for the court to dismiss Bah's two remaining counts of aiding and abetting as a principal.
A statement of facts filed in Bah's case indicates he and a co-defendant, Ansumama Jawara, made multiple purchases of Newport cigarettes on Dec. 16, 2011, in Woodstock, Haymarket, Staunton, Verona and Mount Jackson. The defendants bought the cigarettes using credit cards encoded with fraudulently obtained account information. The loss from these transactions totaled $5,400, according to the statement.
Law enforcement agents stopped Jawara's and Bah's vehicle on Dec. 16, 2011, after the defendants had made several purchases and one attempt was declined, the statement notes. Agents found 21 cartons of Newport cigarettes and 48 re-encoded gift and credit cards in their vehicle, according to the statement.
Bah told authorities he had traveled from Maryland to Virginia for several months in order to buy cigarettes using re-encoded cards provided by a man identified only as Junior, the statement reads. The cigarettes would then be sold in other states to avoid higher taxes, authorities said.
Jawara received time served for the nine months he spent in jail awaiting trial.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org