Fourth Baltimore Defendant Sentenced in Scheme to Produce Fake Identity Documents, Bank Fraud and Identity Theft
Used Identity Information Stolen from a Baltimore Mortgage Company
to Purchase Over $580,000 in Merchandise and Cars
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Nekia Ishawn Hunter, age 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 61 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for illegal production of identification documents, 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 Hunter to pay restitution of $371,552.
According to her plea agreement, law enforcement officers observed Hunter on August 15, 2006 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 and placed photos of Lavon Caldwell, Christopher Carson, Faye Jones and others on the fraudulent driver’s licenses. She then gave the driver’s licenses to Caldwell, Carson and Jones to fraudulently procure credit accounts from banks and retail stores in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas, and purchase merchandise and cars. 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 individuals to fraudulently open credit accounts and purchase at least $400,000 of merchandise.
After his co-schemers were arrested, Caldwell, age 25, of Baltimore, 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. Calwell was sentenced on November 21, 2007 to 61 months in prison for his participation in the scheme, including using the stolen identity information to fraudulently obtain two loans in the amounts of $40,544 and $42,855 to finance the purchases of a Mercedes Benz E320 and a BMW. Judge Bennett ordered Caldwell to pay restitution of $414,323.30.
Christopher Carson, age 38, of Baltimore, was sentenced on October 12, 2007 to six years in prison for his participation in the scheme and ordered to pay $242,816.08 in restitution.
Faye Marie Jones, age 52, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced on November 15, 2007 to three years in prison for her participation in the scheme and was ordered to pay restitution of $86,663.93.
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 prosecuted the cases.