Boston - A Massachusetts man was sentenced today in federal court for participating in an identity theft conspiracy that netted over $565,000 while the man was in jail for other fraud-related charges.
Shawn Robert Pelley, 36, of Centerville, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper to 9 years and 5 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, forfeiture and restitution. Pelley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on Sept. 14, 2012.
Earlier court filings and statements by the prosecutor showed that had the case proceeded to trial, the Government’s evidence would have proved that from around Jan. 22, 2010, through Aug. 5, 2010, while Pelley was in jail, he conspired to commit a string of identity thefts with Bryan Wells, who recently had been released from jail. A representative theft involved a victim identified as R.P.O. On Feb. 1, 2010, Wells obtained a copy of R.P.O.’s birth certificate. Within a week, Pelley and Wells convinced the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to send a copy of R.P.O.’s driver’s license to Florida, after which time he obtained a Florida driver’s license in R.P.O.’s name. Wells opened bank accounts in R.P.O.’s name and transferred $120,000 from R.P.O.’s investment account to these new bank accounts. Wells then withdrew substantial sums in cash. In addition, Pelley and Wells also interrupted R.P.O.’s telephone and e-mail services so that R.P.O. would not learn of the $120,000 theft.
Pelley and Wells also targeted and obtained other victims’ funds, with losses totaling over $565,000.
Pelley participated in the scheme while he was in jail by making calls over the jail’s telephone lines. At times, Pelley and Wells discussed over the telephone which victims to target and how to accomplish the fraud. At other times, Wells went about the business of the fraud while surreptitiously listening to Pelley’s telephoned instructions over a hidden Bluetooth earpiece. At other times, Wells connected Pelley via conference calls to the outside world so that Pelley could talk directly with, for example, Massachusetts and Florida government agencies in order to figure out how Wells could obtain a Florida driver’s license in R.P.O.’s name.
Wells is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13, 2012.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Kevin Niland, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland of Ortiz’s Cybercrime Unit.