UPDATE 05-11-2011 at 6:30pm by Jerry Askin
A federal judge sentenced 20-year old Gaspar Bishop to 87 months in federal prison. Wakulla County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Bishop at his Crawfordville home in July 2010. The former Brooklyn, New York resident is accused of stealing the personal identities of people all over the U.S. and creating fake credit cards.
“It makes you worry a lot about what you're doing on the Internet and where you're ordering things from, and what you're doing with your credit card information," says Leslie Porter - a resident of Wakulla County.
Porter now lives in Bishop's former home and says she is more protective of her credit card information.
47-year old Trevor Hubbard and 22-year old Elizabeth Caldare were also arrested as part of the fraud scheme trio. The case included 250 victims and 300 thousand dollars in losses.
Porter says, "People that are stealing from other people, no matter how - whether they're breaking into their house or doing it online, they should be taken off the streets."
Wakulla County Sheriff David Harvey says, "I applaud the sentence of the judge. We must continue to send the message that this type of case is not victimless and will not be tolerated in the county or anywhere else."
Carolyn Stewart of Wakulla County says, "My son orders a lot of stuff over the Internet, but I don't fool with the Internet."
"Stealing people's identity is a private thing and makes you feel like you've been violated," says Cynthia Perez of Wakulla County.
Deputies say the three used stolen credit card numbers to purchase gift cards and used people's identities to open up lines of credit and sell the information to people in other countries.
Hubbard and Caldare are scheduled to be sentenced within the next 30 days.
Stay tuned to WCTV for the latest.
[UPDATE] 5-12 Noon -
A Tallahassee judge sentences a local man to seven years in prison in connection with a fraud case that stretched across the U-S.
In July 2010, the Wakulla county sheriff's office arrested 20-year old Gaspar Bishop at his home in Crawfordville. Deputies say Bishop and two other people, 47 year old Trevor Hubbard, and 22-year old Elizabeth Caldare, were involved in an operation to steal personal Identities and create fake credit cards. The judge noted at the sentence hearing that the case included 250 victims and a monetary loss of $300,000.
The two co-defendants, Hubbard and Caldare, in the case are expected to appear in federal court in the next 30 days to face the judge as well.
We'll have more reaction on this story later on Eyewitness News.
GASPAR BISHOP SENTENCED IN FEDERAL COURT
A 20-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. man was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison in connection with a massive fraud case that stretched across the United States and to international locations, Wednesday, May 11. The break in the case came in Crawfordville in July 2010 when Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to arrest one of the suspects following the service of a search warrant.
“I am proud of the work of our detectives in solving this case,” said Wakulla County Sheriff David Harvey. “We must continue to send the message that this type of case is not victimless and will not be tolerated in Wakulla County or anywhere else. I applaud the sentence of Judge Hinkle.”
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida sentenced Gaspar Bishop, A.K.A. Nigel Raymond Humphrey, at a hearing in Tallahassee. Two co-defendants in the case are also expected to appear in federal court in the next 30 days to face the judge as well. Bishop and the co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 7, 2010.
In July 2010, Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office investigators served a search warrant at a Crawfordville area home and discovered Bishop and stepbrother Trevor Hubbard, 47, A.K.A. Paul Adams involved in an operation to steal personal identities and create fake credit cards. Judge Hinkle imposed the sentence on Bishop and stressed the seriousness of the crime in the courtroom.
One of the co-defendants in the case is Bishop’s stepbrother Hubbard who gave investigators the name of Paul Adams. Hubbard/Adams was arrested by Wayne County, Ohio Police in October 2010 and equipment used in the credit card fraud operation was recovered in his vehicle. A female defendant in the case, Elizabeth Lail-Caldare, 22, of Pensacola faces sentencing in June. She was recruited by Bishop and Hubbard to skim credit card numbers after the pair met her while she was a waitress at a Pensacola Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant.
Judge Hinkle noted at the sentencing hearing that the case included 250 victims and a monetary loss of $300,000.
During the Wakulla County investigation, detectives determined that Bishop and Hubbard used stolen credit card numbers to purchase gift cards. They also used the stolen identity information to open lines of credit. The stolen identification information was later sold to parties in other countries.
WCSO detectives contacted the U.S. Secret Service which assisted with the investigation along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Wakulla detectives cracked the case after a female victim from Arkansas contacted Crawfordville Wal-Mart Store Manager Richard Russell about a fraud case and Russell provided video of a gift card transaction that, along with confidential information, led investigators to serve a search warrant at the Crawfordville area home where Bishop and Hubbard were living.
When detectives arrived at the home, Hubbard asked Bishop to come to the door and investigators recognized him from the surveillance video. Both men gave investigators bogus names and neither of them had any identification to confirm their identity.
Investigators determined that Hubbard left Wakulla County for Ohio where he was later arrested. In Ohio investigators discovered that Hubbard was sending and receiving credit card information over e-mails, Judge Hinkle said.
Prosecutor Chris Canova said the case has caused great harm to the victims and many no longer will use credit cards. “They are scared to use their credit cards,” said Canova. “They are just using cash now.”
Judge Hinkle recognized a difficult pre-teen family background for Bishop in New York but that did not reduce the seriousness of the crime.
“This is a very substantial offense,” said the judge. “The impact is on the banks and individuals whose identities were stolen. Cases like these have the potential to affect the national economy and the way we do business. The U.S. is not going back to a cash economy of the 1950s. This kind of crime is serious and a substantial sentence is warranted.”
Judge Hinkle not only gave Bishop seven years and three months of jail time, but also added three years of supervised probation which included stipulations of no firearms, no dangerous weapons, required drug testing, the providing of financial information to his probation officer and a $300 special assessment in lieu of court fines he said Bishop could not afford to pay.
Bishop was ordered to pay $38,454.04 in restitution following his release from prison. However, Bishop also faces state criminal charges in New York that were pending when he fled to Florida.
Judge Hinkle explained to Bishop that he has 14 days to file an appeal of the ruling. Public Defender Bill Clark asked the judge to provide incarceration for Bishop near his Brooklyn home and Judge Hinkle agreed.