Ringleader Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison in Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving over 250 Individual Victims
Stole the Identities of Doctors Who Applied for Fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital Where His Girlfriend Worked
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced ringleader Derrick Hill, age 53, of Woodlawn, Maryland, today to 11 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Bennett also entered an order that Hill pay restitution of $191,180.26.
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 Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver.
According to his plea agreement, from August to October, 2009, Hill and his girlfriend Renee Cabell conspired with their co-defendants John Coffey and Tawney King to negotiate counterfeit checks drawn on victim bank accounts.
Hill received checks which had been designated for destruction by banks and stolen before they could be destroyed. He also received personal identity information and personal financial information from King who was employed by Highlandtown Community Health Center. According to King’s plea agreement, King accessed patient files and provided Hill with the patient identifying information either directly or through her friend Cabell. Hill used this information to create counterfeit checks using the victim’s financial account information and the identity information of other victims. He also obtained counterfeit identification cards and altered stolen Maryland driver’s licenses so that they displayed victim identity information, but with the photo of one of several co-conspirators, including Coffey.
Hill recruited Coffey to help him cash the checks at banks and retail establishments. If the counterfeit checks were cashed at a retail store, Hill told his co-conspirators what to buy. Proceeds, whether cash or merchandise, were given to Hill, who paid his co-conspirators a small percentage for each successful transaction.
Additionally, Cabell provided Hill with the names and identity information of doctors who applied for fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital where Cabell worked, processing the fellowship applications. Hill used the doctors’ identities to rent apartments, buy merchandise and obtain services. Indeed, shortly before Hill’s arrest, Hill was attempting to rent another apartment in a doctor’s identity because he and Cabell were about to be evicted for non-payment on the apartment they rented in the identity of another doctor.
The defendants obtained cash, merchandise and services worth over $188,000. The identities of over 250 individuals were compromised.
Renee Cabell, age 51, of Woodlawn, Maryland, John Coffey, age 43, and Tawney King, age 46, all pleaded guilty previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. Cabell and Coffey were sentenced last week to 30 months and 57 months in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay restitution of $191,180.26. Both were sentenced to three years of supervised release, with Cabell ordered to serve 12 months of her term of supervised release on home detention. King is scheduled to be sentenced later this week on March 28th.
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. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service and Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who prosecuted the case.