The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge
On September 26, 2003, James Wagner ("Wagner") pleaded guilty to one
count of Credit Card Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(5), a
class C felony.
This statement of facts draws on the Presentence Investigation Report
prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
On January 21, 2003, Wagner entered Saks Fifth Avenue at the Short
Hills Mall in Short Hills, New Jersey and purchased two Cartier watches
with a total value of $6,950 using a Chase Bank card in the name of
another person ("the Cardholder"). In making the purchase, Wagner signed
a charge card form in the name of the Cardholder. During the course of processing the transaction, the Saks Fifth Avenue
store clerk became suspicious and contacted a store investigator. The
investigator called the bank card issuer and spoke with a bank
representative. The bank representative reported to the investigator that
he had called the Cardholder at home and spoken to him. The Cardholder
stated that he had not been at the Short Hills Mall at the time and had
not authorized anyone else to use his card.
Following the call to Chase Bank, the investigator contacted the
Millburn, New Jersey Police Department; a detective and another member of
the Millburn Police Department responded to the call. The detective then
called the victim from a Saks Fifth Avenue security office in the store
to confirm that he was not at the Short Hills Mall and had not authorized
anyone else to use his card.
Wagner was then approached by a Saks Fifth Avenue store investigator
who identified himself as such. Wagner immediately walked away from the
investigator and then began running toward the parking garage. While
running, Wagner dropped the two watches he had purchased along with the
The detective and his partner approached Wagner in the parking garage
and arrested him and read him his Miranda warning. Wagner then
stated: "He told me it was good." The case was then referred to United States Postal Inspectors, who
reviewed the details of the arrest and subsequently contacted a Chase
Bank fraud investigator who informed the postal inspectors that the
Cardholder never received the bank card used by Wagner. The fraud
investigator then provided a report of all purchases made with the bank
card. These purchases, totaling approximately $13,000, were made in the
Southern District of New York and elsewhere from January 18, 2003 through
January 21, 2003.
Wagner was arrested on April 23, 2003 in the Southern District of New
York. After his arrest, the government determined that Wagner was not
responsible for all the fraudulent charges to the credit card but that he
is responsible for $7,231.06 in actual loss.
The intended victim of the instant offense is J.P. Morgan Chase,
formerly known as Chase Bank. It has suffered an actual loss of
Wagner was reportedly born in 1948 in Peekskill, New York. He was
raised in a middle-class household in Westchester County. Wagner reports
that he graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in biology.
Wagner currently resides in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East
Side of Manhattan.
In 1994, Wagner developed Lyme disease through a tick bite. In 2000, he
was bitten again by a tick and his condition worsened. The disease has
manifested itself with neurological complications, a heart condition and
a diminished immune system. As a result, Wagner requires a daily regimen
of medication. Wagner also reports that he has been diagnosed with
Chronic Fatigue ...