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Jamaican woman pleads guilty to passport fraud and identity theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Roxanne Williams, 31, a native and citizen of Jamaica who had been residing in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Court Judge William M. Skretny, to making false statements in connection with a fraudulent passport application and aggravated identity theft. The false statement charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. The aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison to be imposed consecutive to any sentence imposed for the false statement charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, who is handling the case, stated that in July 2012, the defendant submitted an application for a United States Passport claiming to be a United States citizen and using the name of an unwitting person. As part of the application, Williams included copies of the other person’s birth certificate, social security card, and Florida driver’s license. An alert passport officer noted that some of information in the application was not consistent with information in a prior passport application under the same name which had been submitted a year earlier in Florida. The officer notified criminal investigators of the potential fraud.

When the defendant returned the next day to pick-up her passport, she was questioned by investigators.  Initially, Williams maintained her fraudulent persona, but later admitted the fraud when a fingerprint check revealed her true identity and that there were warrants for her arrest in New York City and New Jersey for credit card fraud offenses. Upon her arrest, a search of the defendant’s vehicle revealed numerous credit cards and identity documents issued in the names of many other persons, along with a notebook containing personal information regarding the individuals whose names appeared on the credit cards.     

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Department of State, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Roy Stillman.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 18, 2014, before Chief Judge Skretny.