A court document was made public on Monday, accusing the CEO of a California company of committing unauthorized charges on thousands of consumer credit and debit card accounts.
Jason Edward Thomas Cardiff, who is 48 years old and previously resided in Upland, California, is facing charges of access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and two counts of witness tampering. According to the document, Cardiff was the owner and operator of Redwood Scientific Technologies, a company that sold various homeopathic thin film strip products to consumers. Between January and May of 2018, Cardiff instructed his employees to use the credit and debit card information of previous customers to make charges for additional products that were not ordered by those customers. Furthermore, the document alleges that Cardiff instructed his employees to destroy any documents that could be relevant to a Civil Investigative Demand issued by the Federal Trade Commission.
"The department's dedication to investigating unauthorized charges on consumer accounts and ensuring that criminals are held responsible for their actions is evident in these charges," stated Brian M. Boynton, Principal Deputy Attorney General and head of the Civil Division at the Justice Department. He further emphasized that the Justice Department will utilize all available resources to prosecute such fraudulent schemes."
"This indictment accuses the defendants of engaging in a blatant act of deception by charging customers for products they never actually ordered," stated U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California. He emphasized the commitment to diligently safeguarding consumers from unscrupulous businesses that take advantage of their trust.
The investigation conducted by postal inspectors uncovered a fraudulent scheme where American consumers were billed for products they never received," explained Inspector in Charge Carroll Harris of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Los Angeles Division. He further expressed the unwavering dedication of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in protecting American consumers from falling victim to such fraudulent schemes.
Cardiff appeared in court for the first time on November 27th, in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Brianna Fuller Mircheff from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. If found guilty, Cardiff could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for access device fraud, 20 years in prison for witness tampering, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. The final decision on his sentence will be made by a federal district court judge, who will take into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors. During his arraignment on Monday, Cardiff pleaded not guilty, and a trial has been set for January 23, 2024.