TWO WELLINGTON MEN SENTENCED IN MAIL AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT RING
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Division, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced that Ricardo Lee Penn, 48, and Dorian Jerrell Cawley, 26,both of Wellington, were sentenced to 94 months and 54 months in prison, respectively, following their guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit mail theft and access device fraud, unauthorized use of access devices and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. §§ 371, 1708, 1029 & 1028A. In addition to those charges, Penn also previously pleaded guilty to mail theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. §§ 1708 and 922(g)(1). Two co-defendants who were also indicted in this case, Jamaal Willie Williams and Willie Antwon Little, are awaiting sentencing and a fifth defendant, Horace Lincoln Taffe, has already been sentenced.
At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp sentenced Penn to 60 months in prison as to Counts 1 and 14, a concurrent sentence of 70 months as to Counts 6 and 15, and a two-year consecutive sentence as to Count 13, as is required by the aggravated identity theft statute, 18, U.S.C. §§ 1028A. At Cawley’s sentencing hearing, the Court imposed a sentence of 30 months as to Count 1 plus a two-year consecutive sentence as to Count 11, again as required by the aggravated identity theft statute, 18, U.S.C. §§ 1028A. Both defendants were also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between August 1, 2008 and July 23, 2010, Penn and Cawley participated in a conspiracy 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 charges, in some cases, multiple $500 money orders were purchased using the stolen debit cards, which were then cashed by Penn, Cawley and others. In other cases, large purchases were made at area stores and restaurants. In his plea agreement, Penn admitted to being the leader of the criminal organization and the judge today assessed a four-level increase in his sentencing guidelines for being the leader of the criminal conduct.
According to court filings, one victim suffered losses of more than $160,000, another victim lost more than $66,000, a third victim lost approximately $44,000, and a fourth victim lost approximately $26,000. 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 documents filed as part of the guilty plea in the case. As part of his plea agreement, Penn admitted that these crimes caused fraud losses to the victims of $786,000.
Mr. Ferrer commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Jorgensen.
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.