FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
AUGUST 17, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SCAM ARTIST PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL PRODUCTION OF IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS, BANK FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
Produced Documents and Opened Credit Accounts in the Names of More Than 15 Victims, Purchasing Over $400,000 in Merchandise
Baltimore, Maryland - Nekia Ishawn Hunter, age 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to illegal production of identification documents, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft to resolve two cases pending against her, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement presented to the court, Hunter was involved in the production and sale of fraudulent identification documents, identity theft and check fraud. In November 2003, Hunter was arrested by Montgomery County Police at a car dealership where she was attempting to obtain a vehicle through identity theft. At the time of her arrest Hunter possessed two counterfeit driver’s licenses and a bank statement belonging to an identity theft victim. A subsequent search of a computer purchased by Hunter found electronic images of numerous counterfeit Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida driver’s licenses; images of multiple state issues birth certificates; images of numerous social security cards; and images of numerous personal and commercial checks. All the documents were in various names. On August 15, 2006, law enforcement officers observed Hunter as she sold a counterfeit social security card, Virginia driver’s license and New York State birth certificate to another individual. The counterfeit documents were recovered by law enforcement.
Further investigation revealed that between August and November 2006, Hunter purchased credit reports stolen from a Baltimore mortgage company containing the names, social security numbers and other personal identification information of persons who had applied for mortgages. Hunter produced fraudulent driver’s licenses in the names of the individuals on the credit reports, placed photos of her conspirators on the fraudulent driver’s licenses, and then gave the driver’s licenses to her conspirators to use to fraudulently procure credit accounts from banks and retail stores to purchase merchandise and cars. The banks and stores were located throughout the greater Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. The conspirators then sold the merchandise for cash and split the proceeds. Over the course of the conspiracy Hunter used the names and identifying information of at least 15 individual to fraudulently open credit accounts and purchased at least $400,000 in goods using those accounts.
Hunter 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. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled 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 Federal Fraud Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Baltimore County Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Romano, Tonya Kelly Kowitz and Paul E. Budlow, who are prosecuting these cases.