Final Defendant in FedEx Shipping Theft Scheme Pleads Guilty
Memphis, TN – The fifth and final defendant in an interstate shipping theft scheme that defrauded FedEx and wireless carriers of more than $500,000 has pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the guilty plea today.
According to information presented in court, Christopher T. Crawford, 31, of Memphis, Tennessee, is a former FedEx material handler. In 2013, he established a fraudulent FedEx corporate shipping meter account when he called FedEx via a stolen telephone and provided false information to a customer services representative in Arizona to access and utilize a corporate account. Shipping labels were created from the shipping meter account Crawford established.
The account was used by Crawford and known and unknown co-conspirators during their scheme. These individuals used fraudulent FedEx corporate shipping labels to over-label boxes of wireless devices. The boxes were diverted to other known and unknown co-conspirators in New York City and other locations through interstate commerce. Each box of merchandise contained thousands of dollars worth of Verizon and/or AT&T wireless mobile telephones.
Ultimately, this scheme defrauded FedEx and the wireless carriers of between $550,000 and $1.5 million.
In March and July of 2016, Crawford’s co-defendants Akeem Gowdy, 23; and Tavaris Mickens, 23; both of Memphis, Tennessee; Jordan West, 27; and Juan Royal, 24; both of New York City, New York; pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate shipping theft charges respectively.
On Monday, September 26, 2016, Crawford pleaded guilty beforeU.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. to one count of wire fraud.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15, 2016. Crawford faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Memphis Cargo Theft Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Damon K. Griffin and Tony Arvin are prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.