United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Deslouis Edouard, 28, formerly of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $515,000 restitution by United States District Court Jeffery L. Schmehl for his conviction of aggravated identity fraud and related charges.
In October 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated identity fraud and six counts of related fraud charges in connection with an extensive identity fraud scheme during which he was essentially living his day-to-day life based on fraud during a period of at least four years. Edouard lived in a series of apartments he rented in victims’ names and obtained electric, cable, and other services in his victims’ names. He then failed to pay the bills and moved from apartment to apartment, fleecing the apartment owners and service providers along the way. The defendant controlled the identity and credit information of more than 450 individuals and used that information to obtain credit cards and purchase goods including Apple products, gift cards, numerous other electronic devices, as well as a luxury vehicle – causing over $515,000 in losses to numerous victims.
Edouard engaged in much of this fraud activity in the Lehigh Valley, living in apartment complexes in the area and shopping in numerous retail establishments with false identification, often with his picture and others’ identity information on the cards. He also possessed document-making equipment in his residence, which he could use to make false identifications with the numerous identities he had at his disposal. He frequently hijacked his victims’ accounts with wireless service providers, such as AT&T, and became an authorized user on those accounts with one of his false identities.
At the time of his arrest in Florida, the defendant was caught driving an Audi Q5 that he had purchased in Allentown for over $30,000 using the false personal identification information of one of his victims. At the time of the purchase, the defendant presented a fake driver’s license with his victim’s identity information (including his birth date, address, and driver’s license number) paired with his own photograph.
“This defendant victimized innocent bystanders in two ways: first, by stealing individuals’ identities, money and good credit; and second, by ripping off businesses and other service providers,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “If Edouard had not been apprehended by authorities, he would undoubtedly still be committing crimes today with even more victims. Now, instead, he will face consequences of those actions which includes five years in federal prison.”
"Identity theft strips its victims not only of their hard-earned money, but also of their security and privacy," said Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire. "Crooks who think they can conceal their crimes in cyberspace - or who think it's okay to fund their lifestyle with other peoples' hard-earned money - need to know two things: the FBI knows where you hide and we will bring you to justice"
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Service, the Bethlehem Police Department, and the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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