Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - Two Louisiana people have been sentenced for aggravated identity theft charges 24-year-old Joshua Dunbar of St. Martinville and 24-year-old Jaqualyne Etienne of Lafayette will both spend the next two years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, as ordered by a federal judge. Together, they stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the scheme.

The two year sentence is mandatory, under federal law, when a person is convicted of aggravated identity theft, defined by U.S. Code § 1028A:

Whoever, during and in relation to any felony violation enumerated in subsection (c), knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.

Both Dunbar and Etienne pleaded guilty on one count of committing aggravated identity theft, along with admitting to specific elements in the case.

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A federal investigation revealed that Dunbar and Etienne were involved in a scheme to use the personal identifying information (PII) of individuals with accounts at Synchrony Bank. Dunbar and Etienne used the PII of those individuals to request a new credit card linked to each of those accounts and sent to addresses in St. Martinville and New Iberia. Dunbar and Etienne then used those credit cards to make several fraudulent purchases.

Dunbar admitted to charging $66,421.43 on the card he received. Etienne fraudulently charged $164,437.66 in purchases. Both defendants admitted to using the same method to acquire numerous credit cards from Synchrony Bank in the names of other real individuals and in each case, made fraudulent purchases.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated the case. The sentence was handed down in federal court in Lafayette by United States District Judge David C. Joseph and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig R. Bordelon.

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