Houston Store Owner Sentenced for Identity Theft and Multiple Counts of Wire Fraud
HOUSTON September 14, 2014 – Austyn Enahoro Afenkhena, 53, of Houston, has been ordered to prison for four years following his convictions of 11 counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Afenkhena pleaded guilty June 16, 2014.
Today, U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge David Hittner handed Afenkhena a total of 24 months for the wire fraud convictions. He also received a mandatory two years for each of the identity theft convictions which will be served concurrently to each other but consecutively to the underlying sentence, resulting in a total of 48 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court considered the multiple victim statements provided. Afenkhena was further ordered to pay restitution to those victims in the amount of $245,847.72 and will serve two years of supervised release following completion of his sentence.
Beginning in at least January 2008, and continuing through June 2013, Afenkhena obtained credit cards that were created from stolen identities. He would then run the cards through his store front, Phase 2 Auto Repair on Harwin Drive, in order to obtain cash.
To facilitate the scheme, Afenkhena also created fake merchant accounts under the names of Phase 2 Auto Inc., Phase 2 Automotive, ENA Auto Repair and ENA Automotive, so that he could obtain multiple credit card machines on which to run the fraudulent cards. Afenkhena often created false documentation such as invoices and receipts whenever necessary to further the scheme. He would use these documents to falsely represent to multiple banking institutions that transactions occurred at his store.
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Searle is prosecuting.