Winter Springs Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Fraud Schemes
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Chief United States District Judge Anne C. Conway today sentenced Winston James (30, Winter Springs) to five years in federal prison for his role in two multi-million dollar fraud schemes. In one case, James pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. In a separate case, he pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. As part of his sentence, James was ordered to pay $575,703.33 in restitution to his victims.
According to court documents, from January 2009 to January 2010, James and another individual, Joash Airall, established accounts at on-line banks using identities that were either stolen or obtained without lawful authority. James and a conspirator attempted to fund those accounts with more than $1.7 million in unauthorized wire transfers from other banks. James and his conspirators, including Airall and Steve Prophete, then attempted to withdraw those funds before the scheme could be detected, either by having checks issued and sent to a conspirator or by transferring the funds to other accounts from where they could be withdrawn.
Joash Airall (30, Maitland) was also sentenced today. Airall was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Airall was also ordered to pay $290,000 in restitution to the victims in the case. Steve Prophete (26, Altamonte Springs), was convicted by a federal jury on January 11, 2012 on one count of conspiracy, six counts of bank fraud, and one count of making a false statement. Prophete’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 5, 2012.
Beginning in August 2010 and continuing to January 2011, James and a different set of conspirators engaged in a separate conspiracy to defraud banks and auto dealerships. Through the negotiation of worthless and forged checks, the conspirators attempted to obtain vehicles from numerous auto dealerships throughout Florida. James or another conspirator would contact a car dealer, negotiate the purchase of a vehicle, and promise to pay for the vehicle in the form of a wire transfer. The dealer then provided the bank account information for the wire transfer. Rather than send a wire transfer, James or another conspirator would deposit a worthless or forged check into the car dealer’s account. A conspirator would then attempt to take delivery of the vehicle before the bank or dealer learned that the deposited check was fraudulent. If they were successful in obtaining a vehicle, James and his conspirator would then immediately sell the vehicle to another dealer.
During the investigation of this conspiracy, the United States Secret Service identified 40 fraudulent transactions, totaling more than $2.5 million. James and his conspirators were successful in obtaining 13 vehicles. Of those, five were re-sold before the scheme was detected, while the other eight were recovered before they could be re-sold.
Four individuals have been prosecuted for their role in fraudulently obtaining motor vehicles. Samuel Perrot (24, Orlando), Jambauking Paul (26, Kissimmee), Evens Paul (30, Orlando), and Erick Paul (28, Kissimmee) have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. On September 27, 2011, Perrot was sentenced to one year of probation, four months of home detention, and ordered to pay $69,500 in restitution. On October 6, 2011, Jambauking Paul was sentenced to three years of probation and six months of home detention. On December 16, 2011, Erick Paul was sentenced to three years of probation, eight months of home detention, and ordered to pay $69,298 in restitution. The sentencing hearing for Evens Paul is scheduled for March 2, 2012.
These cases were investigated by the United States Secret Service. They were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.