Eleven Men Charged In $1 Million Cross-Country Scheme To Defraud National Cellular Provider
NEWARK, N.J. – Eleven men in New York, Connecticut, North Carolina and Florida were charged today for their roles in a scheme that used stolen identities to order smartphones and other electronic goods and then paid drivers with a parcel delivery company to divert those goods to members of the conspiracy, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Eight defendants were arrested this morning. Arrantes Garrincha Green, a/k/a “Don Gucci,” a/k/a “Gucci,” 39, of Margate, Florida, and Helton Arando Mallette, 27, of Miami, Florida, will appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres in Miami federal court. Omar Kimani Forsythe, a/k/a “Biggs,” 26, and Elvis Anthony Prehay, 43, both of Tamarac, Florida, will appear before Judge Torres tomorrow.
Sheldon Andre Wellington, a/k/a “Shellinz,” 35, of Rockville Center, New York, and Kindley Michel, 36, of Spring Valley, New York, will appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.
Troy Linton Cooper, 35, of East Hartford, Connecticut, will appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Richardson in Hartford federal court. Dashawn Brown, 25, of Raleigh, North Carolina, will appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Gates in Raleigh federal court.
Andre Donovan Duffas, 27, of Plantation, Florida, Jermaine Wilson, a/k/a “Budds,” 32, of Nanuet, New York, and Oneil Gentles, a/k/a “Daffy,” 40, of Bronx, New York, remain at large.
All 11 defendants are charged by indictment with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce. Green is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment:
From June 2015 through June 2017, the defendants and others, led by Green, allegedly conspired to steal electronic equipment, including new smartphones, from a national cellular service provider.
Members of the conspiracy used stolen personal identifiers and debit and credit card information to place orders with the victim company. Many of the orders were allegedly made using two cellular phones associated with Green.
Afterwards, members of the conspiracy, including Green, Duffas, Mallette, Prehay, Wellington, and Wilson, transmitted anticipated delivery dates and locations of the fraudulently-ordered products to other conspirators who were employed as drivers with a major parcel delivery company. These drivers, including Brown, Cooper and Michel, were paid to divert the products mid-delivery to other members of the conspiracy, including Duffas, Forsythe, Gentles, Mallette, Prehay, Wellington, and Wilson.
Proceeds generated through the scheme were shared by wire transfer or depositing the funds in designated bank accounts.
The scheme compromised the identities of hundreds of residents in multiple municipalities across multiple states, including Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, and caused losses in excess of $1 million to the victim company.
The count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. Both counts carry a potential fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The aggravated identity theft count carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, which must be served in addition to any sentence imposed.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Upper Saddle River Police Department, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the NYPD, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the West Hartford Police Department and the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office, Hartford Judicial District, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sammi Malek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.