News and Press Releases

South Carolina Couple Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft Charges

November 1, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that defendants Debra Jo Williams, 59, and Gregory Lynn Williams, 54, each of Spartanburg, South Carolina, pled guilty this week (Debra Jo Williams on October 31, and Gregory Lynn Williams on November 1) in connection with their participation in a bank fraud conspiracy scheme. More specifically, both defendants pled guilty to aggravated identity theft, using names and forged signatures of other persons without authorization on documents submitted to a federally insured bank in order to obtain approximately $4.2 million in total loans from 2007 through 2008, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

Sentencing is scheduled on February 25, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. for Debra Jo Williams, and 2:00 p.m. for Gregory Lynn Williams, before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore at the United States Courthouse in Fort Pierce. Each defendant faces a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison.

On August 23, 2012, defendants Debra Jo Williams and Gregory Lynn Williams were charged by a second superseding indictment with bank fraud, conspiracy, and related aggravated identity theft charges. According to the charges, the defendants provided to Oculina Bank forged personal and business income tax returns as proof of income. Such forged returns bore the name and signature of a South Carolina tax preparer. Through this scheme, defendants obtained more than $4 million in mortgage and personal loans from Oculina Bank branches located in Vero Beach and Fort Pierce. In 2010, both defendants were convicted in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina of making misleading statements to a federally insured bank to obtain loans. The charges in that case stemmed from similar conduct undertaken by the defendants during the same time period as their fraud against Oculina Bank.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.

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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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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