CONCORD - A Lebanon, Maine, man pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court to bank fraud, the U.S. Attorneys Office has announced.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Sean Crockett, 40, used other people's identities to open merchant accounts and used those accounts to process fraudulent credit card payments. Merchant accounts are bank accounts for businesses that allow them to accept payments by debit or credit card.
In 2015, Crockett used altered bank and incorporation records, false tax documents, and other persons' identities to apply for and open merchant bank accounts for companies Crockett controlled. Crockett paid some of these persons to use their identities to open these accounts. Others did not know Crockett and never gave permission to him to open the merchant accounts.
Crockett then used stolen credit card information to process fraudulent transactions. Crockett withdrew the funds soon after they were deposited. Later the credit card holders disputed the transactions, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of "chargebacks" to those merchant accounts. Normally, when chargebacks occur the funds are withdrawn from the merchant account. In this case, however, because Crockett had already withdrawn the funds, the bank was forced to pay the chargebacks. Because of this, the bank routinely closed Crockett's merchant accounts. To continue the scheme, Crockett opened new merchant accounts using other peoples' identities.
Crockett is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept 29