New York people plead guilty in counterfeit fraud scheme
St. Louis, MO – These five New York residents traveled from New York to St. Louis returning stolen merchandise to various retail stores using counterfeit driver’s licenses and receipts.
According to court documents, on November 29, 2012, Maryland Heights police officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by Ishaan Davis. A subsequent search revealed Toshiba laptop computers, a Star TSP 100 Future Print receipt printer, document making card stock, counterfeit State of Florida and New York drivers licenses in Davis' name and the names of others and assorted clothing bearing sales tags. Further investigation revealed two rooms in which Davis, Shonta V. Simpson and William Randall Estes were registered. In addition to items similar to those found in Davis’ car, in the hotel rooms, the officers found boxes of additional clothing with tags which had been mailed from Leo Lewis in New York to Davis in St. Louis, as well as receipts showing wire transfers of money from Davis to Lewis and Ingrid Millsaps.
Through his plea, Davis admitted that he utilized the equipment to produce counterfeit drivers licenses and merchant receipts so that Simpson and Estes could return stolen merchandise for cash. The total number of counterfeit drivers licenses found in the vehicle and the two hotel rooms was 13. During the scheme, they defrauded Ann Taylor and The Loft stores, as well as stores such as The Gap. Simpson had been recruited by Davis, and Leo Lewis recruited Estes to participate in the fraudulent scheme. Estes received a daily rate for his participation, and Simpson was promised a percentage of the money received when she returned the stolen items.
The merchandise that was fraudulently returned was stolen by individuals such as co-defendant Ingrid Millsaps from stores located in, and near, the Brooklyn, New York area. In general, Millsaps was able to steal merchandise valued at $5,000 within two to three days, which she then provided to Davis and others. On one occasion, in order to comply with a request for merchandise, Millsaps stole clothing and items valued at approximately $60,000 during a two to three week period. Millsaps also stole receipt tape and proprietorial store information from retailers such as Ann Taylor in order to facilitate the fraudulent scheme. Millsaps and Davis engaged in the criminal activity for approximately 11 years. Through their pleas, they agreed that a conservative estimate would place the loss for this area exceeding $400,000.
ISHAAN DAVIS, Springfield Gardens, NY; INGRID MILLSAPS, Brooklyn, NY; and LEO LEWIS, Brooklyn, NY, entered guilty pleas this week before United States District Judge Henry Autrey. Sentencings have been set for February 10, 2014.
Co-defendants, Shonta Simpson and William Estes, both of Brooklyn, NY, pled guilty to related charges and were sentenced earlier this year.
The case was investigated by the City of Maryland Heights Police Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.