A despicable Brit has been jailed after stealing from America’s elderly to fund his extravagant millionaire lifestyle.
Fraudster Gareth David Long was sentenced to 70 months in prison for running an elaborate scheme that claimed more 375,000 victims during a six-month period in 2013.
Las Vegas resident Long operated a third-party processing company V Internet Corp from 2008 to 2013 that specialized in the creation and deposit of remotely created checks (RCCs). Through his work, the 41-year-old had access to the personal and financial information of hundreds of thousands of consumers whose accounts he was trusted to debit.
After he stopped acting as a third-party payment processor in January 2013, Long used the data he had acquired over the previous five years to charge purchases to his victims’ accounts.
Not content with the data he had acquired legally and then exploited illegally, Long purchased the information of additional consumers in the form of lead lists.
Over the course of his large-scale wire fraud and identify theft scheme, Long deposited more than 750,000 fraudulent RCCs totaling more than $22m. While approximately half of the checks were immediately reversed by victims’ banks, the unscrupulous criminal nevertheless succeeded in stealing approximately $11m.
When victims called to complain about the charges, Long instructed his employees to pass the charges off as payments authorized by the victims in connection with an online payday loan application. Many of the victims were elderly.
Long used the proceeds of his morally derelict scheme to purchase cars, three airplanes, a fire truck, a ranch, and 23 acres of land in Texas and to pay his personal expenses. He also bought construction and farming equipment.
The US Postal Inspection Service seized more than $2.9m from Long’s company bank accounts. Property that Long purchased with the proceeds of his fraudulent activity, including his cars and planes, was also seized by postal inspectors.
Long pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. As part of the sentencing hearing, the court ordered Long to forfeit $11.2m and the ranch and land he purchased in Texas.
Jody Hunt, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said: “The defendant exploited his access to sensitive personal and financial information to steal millions of dollars from victims throughout the United States.”