John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that STEVEN A. FINKLER, 55, of New Haven, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to credit card fraud and identity theft offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in August 2017, Finkler stole credit cards from two of his employer’s customers and used the cards to make more than 40 fraudulent charges in Connecticut and New York. The charges included Finkler’s purchase of jewelry for his girlfriend, Apple products and electronic devices, and other high-end consumer and retail goods for either himself or his friends. The total loss to the victims was $20,892.75.
In September 2018, Finkler, using another individual’s identity, opened a membership at a fitness center with gym locations throughout Connecticut. Finkler also used the same stolen identity to create accounts with mobile device payment applications. Between September 2018 and May 2019, Finkler visited multiple gym locations and stole credit cards from lockers and other locations while the victims were located elsewhere in the gym. Using the stolen credit cards, and the mobile device payment applications, he made approximately $144,000 in fictitious charges to bank accounts that he created and controlled. He then returned the credit cards to the victims’ wallets before the victims returned to the locker room. At least 49 individuals were victimized through this scheme.
Finkler pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud (credit card fraud), one count of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for April 1, 2020, at which time Finkler faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
Finkler also has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $145,682.08.
Finkler has been detained since his arrest on August 15, 2019.
Finkler has a criminal history that spans 35 years and includes numerous convictions, including five federal convictions stemming from various fraud schemes.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, and the Wallingford, Avon, North Haven, Madison, Glastonbury and Branford Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarala Nagala and Margaret Donovan.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that Steven Finkler has also used the name “Andrew Finkler,” as well as other aliases. Individuals who believe they have been victimized by this scheme, or by this defendant, are encouraged to call the U.S. Secret Service at 203-865-2449.