Home Fairfax man and co-conspirators defraud retailers, elderly victims of $1.25M
Public Safety, Virginia

Fairfax man and co-conspirators defraud retailers, elderly victims of $1.25M

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A Fairfax man pled guilty today to his role in two scams that defrauded victims and retailers out of more than a million dollars.

Sunyu Qian, 31, pled guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 18 and faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

According to court documents, from Nov. 19, 2020 to Aug. 13, 2023, Qian participated in a scheme to con people into purchasing gift cards that he used to acquire high-value items.

Members of a criminal organization contacted individuals, mostly elderly victims, across the United States via telephone or email and, through a variety of false pretenses, convinced them to purchase gift cards from large retailers and convey the gift card information to the fraudsters.

The value of the cards could be aggregated by Qian to purchase electronics which Qian then shipped to his co-conspirators.

During this scheme, Qian used approximately $1.1 million through unauthorized access.

From April 19 to March 23 this year, Qian engaged in another scheme using counterfeit price tags to purchase large containers of baby formula at the lower price of a much smaller cans of baby formula.

For instance, on April 19, 2023, Qian scanned counterfeit price tags for 13-ounce cans of formula priced at $4.99 each that he had placed on larger containers of the same formula priced at $62.99 each.

Qian would then deliver the baby formula to co-conspirators who paid him in cash.

During this scheme, Qian defrauded two retailers of a total of at least $124,000.

Qian’s total culpability over the two schemes is approximately $1.25 million.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.