Walker Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Connection with Interstate Transmission of a Threat to Injure Florida Congresswoman
United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced that U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced Christopher Jackson, age 37, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, to 150 months in federal prison following his convictions for conspiracy to transport stolen motor vehicles in interstate commerce and to sell stolen motor vehicles, and interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle. The Court further sentenced Jackson to serve three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment, ordered Jackson to pay restitution in the amount of $712,280.30, and ordered Jackson to forfeit an additional $375,146 representing the proceeds of his crime.
The sentencing of Jackson stems from a lengthy federal investigation that began in 2019 based on a string of reported thefts all across the Southeast involving late model, high-end recreational vehicles, including those commonly referred to as ATVs or side-by-sides. The investigation spanned numerous jurisdictions across a dozen different states, and ultimately revealed that Jackson was responsible for defrauding forty-nine (49) victims out of their vehicles. Through his fraudulent scheme, Jackson illegally obtained possession of more than four dozen vehicles worth more than $780,000.
According to admissions made as a part of his guilty plea, Jackson would search online ads for used ATVs being offered for sale. He would contact the seller, using an alias, and generally using a different phone number each time, and negotiate to buy the vehicle, indicating that he would pay off the seller’s remaining balance on the loan associated with the ATV. During his communications with the seller, Jackson would learn the name of the bank where the seller had financed the vehicle and the seller’s loan number. Then, using the loan number and other identifying information, Jackson would send fraudulent payment information to the seller’s bank (e.g., a purported payment with the bank’s actual routing number but a fraudulent account number), intending to temporarily signal to the bank’s automated payment system that he had successfully paid the seller’s remaining loan balance.
Before the bank realized that Jackson’s purported payment had not cleared, Jackson would convince the seller that he had paid the seller’s loan and persuade the seller to release the ATV to a driver. Jackson would typically avoid meeting the victims face-to-face and instead relied on other individuals, many of whom he would hire over the internet, to meet the victims, take possession of the vehicles, and transport them pursuant to Jackson’s directions. As he quickly re-sold the stolen vehicles, for cash, Jackson caused the vehicles to be transported across state lines, in furtherance of the scheme.
In a related case, Jackson was also sentenced to federal prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The federal firearms case arose from his June 23, 2021 arrest in Ridgeland, Mississippi, pursuant to a warrant that was issued for his arrest in the fraud case. At the time he was arrested, Jackson knowingly possessed a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol, which had previously been reported stolen, despite the fact that Jackson had previously been convicted of a felony offense and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm.
This investigation was led by the United States Secret Service, with substantial assistance from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, the Tuscaloosa County (Alabama) Sheriff’s Office, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Ridgeland (Mississippi) Police Department, and the Madison County (Mississippi) District Attorney’s Office, among other agencies.
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as Senior Litigation Counsel for the United States Attorney’s Office, and Assistant United States Attorney Caroline B. Gardner.