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Press Release

Purported Rap Promoter Pleads Guilty to Role in $2.3M Nationwide Fraud Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Illinois man pleaded guilty today to his role in a nationwide wire fraud conspiracy that victimized businesses and individuals across the United States, and caused a total loss of $2,299,842. 

According to court documents, between at least March 2016 and September 2020, Antonio M. Strong, 31, of Lansing, Illinois, conspired with Herbert Wright, Joseph Williams, Demario Sorrells, and others to defraud numerous businesses and individuals by using unauthorized and stolen payment card account information to obtain valuable goods and services from those businesses and individuals, including private jet charters, private yacht charters, luxury car rentals, luxury hotel and vacation rental accommodations, private chef and security guard services, designer puppies, limousine and chauffeur services, commercial airline flights, consumer goods, meals, and other incidentals. The actual cardholders discovered these transactions on their accounts and disputed the charges. The actual cardholders’ payment card companies then reversed their payments and charged back the transactions to the businesses and individuals, which consequently suffered losses in the amounts of the unauthorized transactions. 

During this time, Strong presented himself as a rap promoter based in the Chicago area. To conceal his identity and perpetrate the fraud, Strong used various fictitious names and aliases; provided fake driver’s licenses; used email accounts in the names of fictitious and real businesses; and falsely stated that he was from “Universal Music,” “Sony Music,” “Epic Music,” and other real and fictitious companies. 

Strong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 19 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Wright, Williams, and Sorrells have all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Wright was sentenced on Jan. 11 to three years of probation and was ordered to pay $139,968 in both restitution and forfeiture. Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, and Sorrells is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 29. Two other co-conspirators were indicted in October 2020 and their trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy for the District of Massachusetts; and Special Agent in Charge Andrew Murphy of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office made the announcement.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Andrew Tyler and Kyle Crawford of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow for the District of Massachusetts are prosecuting the case.

Updated May 22, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-652