Stole Vehicles and Used the Stolen Identity Information of Victims to Engage in Fraudulent Financial Transactions
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Jeff Crews, a/k/a “Fro,” age 25, of Washington, D.C., today to 121 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to participate in a racketeering conspiracy and for aggravated identity theft, in connection with his activities as the leader of the Simple City Criminal Organization (SCCO). SCCO was a racketeering enterprise engaged in fraud and related activity, including vehicle theft, interstate transportation of stolen property, and aggravated identity theft. Judge Hazel also entered an order requiring Crews to forfeit and pay restitution of $1,250,000.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein;Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, the SCCO is a criminal organization based in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. in a neighborhood known as “Simple City.” From at least 2009 to July 2015, Crews and his conspirators, including Sylvia Price and Stefon Janey, met on a regular basis, and planned criminal activity, including vehicle theft, the interstate transportation of stolen property, identity theft and credit/debit card fraud. The SCCO received money and income from those criminal activities.
According to his plea agreement, Crews and other SCCO members would steal vehicles in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C. Crews and SCCO members sometimes used the stolen vehicle in a short crime spree during which they committed a string of auto thefts; thefts from autos; and commercial burglaries targeting ATM machines. Once the SCCO had used a stolen vehicle to commit one or more crime sprees, the SCCO would then transport the stolen vehicle across state lines for resale.
Crews and other SCCO members would provide any personal identification information and access devices stolen during the crime spree to another group within the SCCO, which was led by Sylvia Price. Sylvia Price and those under her direction would conduct fraudulent transactions with the stolen identification documents and access devices, in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Price would provide a portion of the fraud proceeds to Crews, for disbursement to the SCCO members who participated in the thefts.
For example, on April 18, 2015, Crews, Janey, and another co-conspirator robbed a BP Gas Station in Beltsville, Maryland. While Crews acted as the getaway driver, Janey and another co-conspirator used a crowbar to forcibly enter the vestibule area, where an employee was working. Janey and the co-conspirator threatened the employee and stole the employee’s cell phone and cash from a cash register. In addition, Janey and the co-conspirator forcibly opened an ATM in the gas station, causing damage to the ATM, and took cash from the ATM. They fled the gas station in a gray Acura MDX that had previously been stolen in Prince George’s County, on March 31, 2015.
At least $550,000, but not more than $1,500,000, was reasonably foreseeable to Crews based on his involvement in the activities of the SCCO.
All fourteen defendants charged in this case have pleaded guilty to their participation in the racketeering conspiracy. Sylvia Price, a/k/a “Deez Nuts,” age 50, of Suitland, Maryland, was sentenced to 75 months in prison, ordered to pay a money judgment of $453,900, and to forfeit 101 high end women’s handbags, 45 debit cards, as well as gift cards, credit cards and gas cards. Stefon Janey, a/k/a “Stef,” and “Stef Luva,” age 23, of Marlow Heights, Maryland, was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Three other defendants have been sentenced to between 27 and 43 months in prison. The nine remaining defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in the next few months.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Prince George’s County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department and the members of the Washington Area Vehicle Enforcement Unit for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas M. Sullivan and Nicolas A. Mitchell, who are prosecuting the case.