FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
NOVEMBER 21, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 5 YEARS IN IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME
Scheme Involved Use of Identity Information Stolen from a Mortgage Company
to Make $580,000 in Purchases
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Lavon Caldwell, age 25, of Baltimore, Maryland, today 61 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Bennett also ordered Caldwell to pay restitution of $414,323.30
According to the plea agreement, from August to November 2006, Caldwell, Nekia Hunter and other co-schemers purchased at least $320,000 in retail goods and $220,000 in automobiles using fraudulently opened credit accounts in the names of at least 15 victims without intending to pay for the goods.
As part of the scheme, Hunter purchased credit reports that were stolen from a mortgage company which contained the names and addresses, social security numbers, credit and other identifying information of persons who had applied for a mortgage. Hunter manufactured fraudulent Maryland driver’s licenses in the names and addresses of the victims, but which bore the photographs of Caldwell, Faye Marie Jones and other associates. Caldwell used the fraudulent driver’s licenses at stores to open credit accounts in the names of the victims, and then used the temporary credit cards to buy high-priced goods, such as plasma televisions and building materials. The goods were then sold for cash, and the cash split among those involved in the identity theft ring. Additionally, in August 2006 Caldwell fraudulently obtained three loans in the amounts of $40,544, $42,855, and $91,964.50 and financed the purchases of a Mercedes Benz E320 and two BMWs.
After his co-schemers were arrested, Caldwell used the identifying information of another victim to open more credit accounts, stealing more than $40,000 before he was finally arrested on June 7, 2007.
Caldwell remains detained.
Hunter pleaded guilty on August 17, 2007 and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the bank fraud conspiracy; 15 years in prison for illegal production of identification documents; and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Judge Bennett has scheduled Hunter’s sentencing for December 13, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. Hunter remains detained pending sentencing.
Faye Marie Jones, age 52, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced on November 15, 2007 to three years in prison followed by two years of supervised release for use of unauthorized access devices, such as account numbers, credit cards and bank cards; and aggravated identity theft; and was ordered to pay restitution of $86,663.93.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Secret Service, the Baltimore County Police Department and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office for their investigative work, and expressed appreciation to Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura Martin for her assistance in this case. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tonya Kelly Kowitz and Paul Budlow, who are prosecuting the case.