FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
SEPTEMBER 10, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME
Scheme Involved Use of Identity Information Stolen from a Mortgage Company
to Make $540,000 in Purchases
Baltimore, Maryland - Lavon Caldwell, age 25, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
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 and his 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 two loans in the amounts of $40,544 and $42,855 and financed the purchases of a Mercedes Benz E320 and a BMW.
Caldwell faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for the bank fraud conspiracy; and a mandatory sentence of two years consecutive to the sentence imposed for the conspiracy, followed by up to one year of supervised release, for aggravated identity theft. Caldwell remains detained pending sentencing. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for November 21, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.
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 followed 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 October 26, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. Hunter remains detained pending sentencing.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Secret Service and Baltimore County Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tonya Kelly Kowitz and Paul Budlow, who are prosecuting the case.