Accokeek Fraudster Sentenced to over 7 Years in Prison for using Stolen Bank Account Information while in Prison to Buy Cars and Other Items
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Lamonte X. Smith, age 30, of Accokeek, Maryland, today to 92 months in prison followed by six years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft arising from a scheme in which, while he was incarcerated, he obtained access device account information of others from a bank to purchase cars, services, clothing and other items. Judge Grimm also entered an order that Smith forfeit and pay restitution of $115,207.09
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kathy A. Michalko of the United States Secret Service - Washington Field Office.
According to his plea agreement, Smith was incarcerated at the Maryland Reception Diagnostic and Classification Center (MDCC) in Baltimore from at least April to August 2011. Smith instructed a co-conspirator to buy “SIM” cards, which are used in cell phones to assign the device a telephone number, and deliver the SIM cards to Smith in prison. Smith used the SIM cards to activate a phone and call Bank of America, clothing vendors and car dealerships. Smith used one of the SIM cards to call Bank of America’s customer service department on several occasions, posed as an authorized user of business access device account holders, and fraudulently obtained access to bank accounts of individuals and small business owners without their knowledge.
Upon accessing the accounts, Smith caused credit limits to be raised, added additional authorized users and caused additional access devices to be mailed to others. From prison, Smith used the fraudulently obtained account information to buy cars, clothes and car transportation from prison. His conspirators directed the shipment of cars, clothing and other items totaling at least $115,207.09 to Smith’s home, or to a storage unit in Waldorf, Maryland.
On August 17, 2011, federal law enforcement agents searched two homes linked to Smith’s illegal conduct. After learning of the searches, Smith called an individual and offered to pay the individual to remove clothes, car accessories and other items from the storage unit in Waldorf. Law enforcement arrived at the storage unit before it could be emptied. The individual made consensually monitored phone calls with Smith from the storage unit in which Smith confirmed his plan to pay the individual to remove the items.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the Secret Service for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Windom and Arun G. Rao, who prosecuted the case.