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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tampa Man Sentenced To Forty-Five Months’ Imprisonment For Identity Theft And Fraud Schemes

Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell today sentenced Rany Smith a/k/a “Abdelmajid Wahbi” (48, Tampa) to 45 months’ imprisonment for aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He pleaded guilty to charges on December 6, 2017.

According to court records, Smith, originally of Morocco, stole the identities of other North African immigrants and used them to carry out fraud schemes throughout Florida. In one scheme, he obtained employment as a manager at Tampa-area and South Florida businesses, using stolen identities to hide his prior felony conviction. He then used his managerial authority to hire “ghost employees,” whose wages he then collected and kept for himself. In other schemes, Smith obtained lines of credit using the personal identifying information of various identity theft victims and purchased goods and services from a variety of businesses across the United States. As a result, he incurred debts that he never repaid, causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses to the underwriting banks.

"This criminal stole the identities of other immigrants and used those identities to shield himself from being held accountable for illegal activities," said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. "He victimized the immigrants whose identities he stole, Florida retailers and online merchants, and the U.S. taxpayers."     

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations – National Security Division, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric K. Gerard.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated March 8, 2018