The Willie D iPhone international fraud case is over, and the rapper has pled guilty. This morning the Geto Boys MC and Dirty South pioneer went before District Court Judge Gray Miller at a hearing and confessed to posing as an electronics salesman and using eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once he had a fish on the line, the rapper, born Willie James Dennis, would reel them outside of eBay via email.
Most if not all of the rapper's victims were overseas. The Department of Justice reports that 29 people were defrauded of about $132,303 between September 2008 and April 2009. Dennis would request that his victims electronically transfer funds for bulk purchases of iPhones to his account. Dennis would then send them tracking numbers for non-existent packages. When the victims would invariably complain about not receiving their phones, Dennis blamed the post office and other shipping concerns, thus absolving himself of refunding their money. Eventually, Dennis would simply stop communicating with the aggrieved parties.
You can see his scam - which earned Dennis a coveted Houston Press Turkey of the Year award - unfold in real time here at the Fraudbusters site.
Dennis was arrested by the FBI on May 13. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment - federal time, with no chance of parole - to be followed by up to a five-year-term of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the wire-fraud conviction. As part of his plea agreement, Dennis will make full restitution at or before his sentencing, which is scheduled for April 23. He will be free on bond until that time, likely so he can work on raising the cash he needs to make good on his fraud conviction.