Mobile Resident Convicted on all Counts at Fraud and Identity Theft Trial
MOBILE, AL – A federal jury convicted a Mobile resident this week for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements to the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and Social Security Administration (“SSA”).
According to court documents and evidence presented at a three-day trial, Kartarius Dewan Johnson, also known as Tareeq Akhil Anad, 42, a resident of Mobile, engaged in widespread financial fraud and identity theft. Between March 2020 and January 2021, Johnson sought to defraud others of property and money worth more than $8 million using false documents containing language commonly used by sovereign citizens, a group of people who generally believe that the U.S. government is illegitimate and that they are exempt from federal, state, or local laws. Johnson contracted with third parties, including car dealerships in Mobile, Beverly Hills, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona, to purchase Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. He also signed a purchase agreement for a $4 million bayfront home in Daphne. To further his fraud scheme, Johnson mailed packages and sent emails to financial institutions and other individuals, in violation of the federal wire fraud statute. The jury reviewed bank records proving that Johnson did not have the money to legitimately buy the items he sought.
Johnson also tried to fraudulently obtain SBA funds for COVID–19 relief and lied to the SSA about his U.S. citizenship when applying for a new Social Security card, citing membership in a fictitious tribe that is not federally recognized. In furtherance of his fraud schemes, Johnson illegally used Social Security numbers (SSNs) belonging to two deceased individuals. The jury also reviewed records showing that between 2015 and 2018, Johnson improperly received federal tax credits totaling more than $800,000 for purported biodiesel fuel usage, which he spent on personal expenses, including a private jet membership, clothing, jewelry, cars, vacations, and child support payments. At the conclusion of the case, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in fewer than twenty minutes.
Johnson will be sentenced by United States District Judge Terry F. Moorer in July 2023. Johnson is subject to mandatory two-year prison sentences for his aggravated identity theft convictions, which must run consecutively to any other sentence he receives. He also faces up to 20 years in prison for each of his wire fraud convictions, up to 30 years in prison for making false statements to the SBA, and up to five years in prison for making false statements to the SSA.
The FBI and the SSA Office of Inspector General investigated the case.
“This verdict reinforces south Alabama’s determination to hold criminals accountable for their greed,” said U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello. “Working with our partners in law enforcement, we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who victimizes innocent individuals, businesses, and taxpayers to line their own pockets.”
Paul W. Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Mobile Field Office, said, "These financial programs are in place to assist people through legitimate hardships in their life. The fraudulent behavior in this case will make it difficult for true victims to get assistance in the future and should be dealt with harshly."
“The jury’s guilty verdict demonstrates that the criminal acts orchestrated by Mr. Kartarius Johnson are intolerable; and it now holds him accountable for his crimes. He not only made false statements to the SSA, but he also misused the identities of persons’ SSNs for his personal gain. He further defrauded others of money and property. I thank the FBI for working with us and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the SSA.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roller of the Southern District of Alabama and Trial Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and Shai Bronshtein of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, Criminal Division, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.