By Stella Lorence
BU News Service
BOSTON – Twelve victims in Massachusetts and Maine were affected by the credit card fraud scheme allegedly perpetrated by four Florida residents, one of whom pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Monday after months as a fugitive.
Fred Alcius, 34, of Lauderhill, Fla., pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley.
Alcius and three co-conspirators allegedly accessed victims’ personal information on the dark web and used it to sign up for credit cards in the victims’ names, according to the sealed complaint filed last year by Edward Phillips, postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The credit cards were used to make purchases at Apple and Walmart stores and make withdrawals at ATMs in Massachusetts and Maine, according to the complaint.
Although all four alleged co-conspirators were Florida residents, the complaint stated they “generally targeted victims who live in wooded residential areas in relatively affluent suburbs with large lots and lengthy driveways to avoid detection by victim homeowners.”
The alleged co-conspirators signed up for credit cards in the victims’ name and used the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery service, which allows customers to digitally preview their mail, to track the arrival of the credit cards to the victims’ mailboxes, according to the sealed indictment.
The alleged credit card fraud conspiracy took place between August 2018 and January 2019 in Concord, Sherborn, Norfolk and Weston, as well as the South Portland area of Maine, according to the complaint.
Alcius’s co-defendant Lucius Appolon, 34, of Lauderhill, Fla., pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced Feb. 18 to two years in prison.
Both Alcius and Appolon were charged by complaint, along with their alleged co-conspirators Peter Belony and Kevens Louis. Appolon was arrested the same month while Alcius remained a fugitive until his arrest this month, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Alcius is scheduled to appear in court next on April 24 for an initial status conference.