News and Press Releases

THREE CHARGED IN WELLINGTON MAIL THEFT AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT RING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced the arrest of Ricardo Lee Penn, 47, of Wellington, and Jamaal Willie Williams, 24, of Miami, on charges of conspiracy, mail theft, unauthorized use of access devices and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. ยงยง 371, 1708, 1029 & 1028A. A third co-defendant, Dorian Jerrell Cawley, 25, of Wellington, has also been charged in the case but remains at large.

Penn, Williams and Cawley were charged in a criminal complaint, Case No. 10-8203-LRJ. The complaint alleges that between August 1, 2008 and July 23, 2010, the three defendants conspired to steal credit and debit cards from the mailboxes of residents of Wellington and other cities, and to use those cards to make purchases and make cash withdrawals from the accounts. According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, in some instances, multiple $500 money orders were purchased using the stolen debit cards, which were then cashed by Penn, Williams and Cawley. In other cases, large purchases were made at area stores and restaurants.

According to the complaint affidavit, one victim suffered losses of more than $120,000, another victim lost more than $26,000, a third victim lost approximately $42,000, and a fourth victim lost approximately $17,000. These four victims were residents of Wellington whose mail was stolen and their identities were compromised as a result of the theft. The identities of many other victims were stolen as well, according to the complaint affidavit filed in the case.

If convicted, the defendants each face a total statutory maximum of up to 22 years in prison for all four charges, and mandatory restitution. Penn and Williams made their initial appearances in federal court today, and are currently being held pending a detention hearing, which has been set for Monday, August 23rd at 10 am. Arraignment has been scheduled for August 30th at 10 am.

Mr. Ferrer commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Jorgensen.

A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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