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Press Release

Convicted Fraudster Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison In Scheme to Buy Merchandise Using Stolen Identifying Information to Open Instant Credit Accounts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Convicted in a Similar Scheme in 2007

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Lavon Richard Caldwell, age 31, of Baltimore, today to eight years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for bank fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. Judge Bennett also ordered Caldwell to pay restitution of $16,024.70.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Robert Jasinski of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.

Caldwell pleaded guilty after four days of trial to using the personal identifying information of individual victims, without their knowledge, to obtain credit accounts in the victims’ names. According to evidence introduced at trial, from September 2011 to February 3, 2012 Caldwell used the fraudulently obtained credit accounts to purchase high priced merchandise from retail stores, including designer clothing, electronics and other personal items, without intending to pay for the merchandise. Caldwell used fake driver’s licenses and other identifying information to assume the identity of the victims.

Caldwell stole the personal identifying information of five individual victims to purchase and attempt to purchase merchandise, including luxury items, such as Hermes sweaters and Gucci bags, electronics and other personal items, totaling at least $70,677.52.

On February 3, 2012 the defendant was arrested at the Neiman Marcus in Washington, D.C., while attempting to purchase $4,000 in merchandise using a fraudulently obtained account and fake driver’s license.

At the time Caldwell engaged in this fraud scheme, he was on supervised release after having served 61 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a similar scheme. Judge Bennett also sentenced Caldwell today to 21 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, to be served concurrent to the eight year sentence, for violating his supervised release.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Secret Service and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Budlow and Michael Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015