Ringleader and Girlfriend Plead Guilty in Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving over 250 Individual Victims
Stole the Identities of Doctors Who Applied for Fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital Where the Girlfriend Worked
Baltimore, Maryland - Ringleader Derrick Hill, age 52, and his girlfriend Renee Cabell, age 51, both of Woodlawn, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Robert Jasinski of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver.
According to their plea agreements, from August to October, 2009, Hill and Cabell conspired with their co-defendants John Coffey and Tawney King to negotiate counterfeit checks drawn on victim bank accounts.
Hill received checks which had been designated for destruction by banks and stolen before they could be destroyed. He also received personal identity information and personal financial information from King who was employed by Highlandtown Community Health Center. According to King’s plea agreement, King accessed patient files and provided Hill with the patient identifying information either directly or through her friend Cabell. Hill used this information to create counterfeit checks using victim’s financial account information and the identity information of other victims. He also obtained counterfeit identification cards and personally altered genuine Maryland driver’s licenses so that they displayed victim identity information but the photograph of one of several co-conspirators, including Coffey.
Hill recruited Coffey to help him cash the checks at banks and retail establishments. If the counterfeit checks were cashed at a retail store, Hill told his co-conspirators what to buy. Proceeds, whether cash or merchandise, were given to Hill, who paid his co-conspirators a small percentage for each successful transaction.
Additionally, Cabell provided Hill with the names and identity information of doctors who applied for fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital where Cabell worked, processing the fellowship applications. Hill used the doctors’ identities to rent apartments, buy merchandise and obtain services. Indeed, shortly before Hill’s arrest, Hill was attempting to rent another apartment in a doctor’s identity because he and Cabell were about to be evicted for non-payment on the apartment they rented in the identity of another doctor.
The defendants obtained cash, merchandise and services worth over $188,000. The identities of over 250 individuals were compromised. All four defendants will be required to pay restitution for the full amount of the victims’ losses, which exceeds $188,000.
Hill and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Hill will be sentenced to 11 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett scheduled his sentencing for March 18, 2013, at 3:00 p.m..
Coffey and King previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. Cabell, Coffey and King face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Judge Bennett scheduled sentencing for Cabell, Coffey and King on March 21, February 13, and February 19, 2013, respectively, all at 3:00 p.m..
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service and Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who is prosecuting the case.