U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that THEODORE PLATANITIS, age 44, of Rancho Cordova, California, was sentenced yesterday after having previously pled guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and bank fraud.
U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt sentenced PLATANITIS to serve 5 months probation and ordered restitution to the victim in the amount of $16,302.
According to court documents, PLATANITIS worked as a money carrier in an organization that hacked into the e-mail accounts of victims and then used that access to cause sums of money to be wired out of the victim’s bank accounts. PLATANITIS was recruited by unknown individuals to open bank account(s) in the United States to receive fraudulent wire transfers from the bank accounts of victims.
On August 24, 2011, the office manager for a New Orleans physician (“Doctor A”) received an e-mail from Doctor A’s America Online e-mail account requesting that the office manager wire $32,300 from Doctor A’s bank account to PLATANITIS’S bank account. In fact, it was not Doctor A who sent the email, but rather another individual had taken control of Doctor A’s e-mail account, and, without Doctor A’s authorization, drafted and sent the e-mail to Doctor A’s office manager purporting to be Doctor A. Doctor A’s office manager complied with the e-mail, and the money was wired to PLATANITIS’S account.
Once the deposit in the amount of approximately $32,000 had been fraudulently deposited into PLATANITIS’S account, PLATANITIS withdrew approximately $16,150 in cash and, acting upon instructions given to him, took the cash to various Western Union locations in Rancho Cordova, California. He then wired different amounts to different locations in Malaysia in amounts not more than $5,000. Shortly thereafter, PLATANITIS returned to a bank branch and attempted to withdraw the remainder of the funds he had fraudulently obtained from Doctor A from his business account.
U.S. Attorney praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg was in charge of the prosecution.