Arkansas Couple Sentenced To A Combined Four Years In Federal Prison For Aggravated Identity Theft And Mail Fraud
El Dorado, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced today that Patrick Wayne Watson, age 24, now of Conway, Arkansas, and Kennan Dane O’Bier, age 24, now of Nash, Texas, were sentenced in Federal Court for their roles in a Mail Fraud and Identity Theft scheme in Magnolia, Arkansas. O’Bier was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and Watson was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, both on one count of Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. They were each ordered to pay $200 in special assessments and to pay restitution in the amount of $42,113.12. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in El Dorado, Arkansas.
According to court records, between August of 2018 through January 31st of 2019, Watson, who was employed at a local bank, used his position at the bank to review personally identifiable information and banking information of customers. While doing so, Watson took photographs of the personally identifying information of over one hundred bank customers on his cellular phone. Watson and O’Bier together then used at least six (6) of those customer’s information to open PayPal, Amazon, and Wayfair accounts in the names of the unsuspecting bank customers.
Over the six months of the scheme, Watson and O’Bier then used those accounts to order thousands of dollars in products from Amazon and Wayfair and had them delivered to multiple addresses, to include their home in Magnolia, Arkansas. On April 23, 2019, a federal search warrant was obtained by the FBI and executed on their Magnolia home. Many of the shipped items were found as well as additional evidence of the Mail Fraud and Identity Theft scheme. Subsequent to this search warrant, a search of Watson’s cell phone resulted in law enforcement discovering the photographs of additional bank customers’ information which were not, to date, used in the scheme.
Watson and O’Bier were indicted on the scheme in August of 2019. Watson entered a plea to Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft charges on June 22, 2020. O’Bier entered his plea to Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft on July 20, 2020.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office, the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office and the Miller County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Wulff prosecuted the case for the United States.