Rapper Willie D has been arrested and charged with wire fraud, US Attorney Tim Johnson has announced.
William James Dennis, as he's more formally known, was arrested last night at Bush Intercontinental after an indictment was unsealed charging him in connection "with his purported sales of iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless," Johnson said.
Here are the details:
According to allegations in the criminal complaint, beginning in September 2008, Dennis, posing as an electronics salesman, used eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once a buyer showed interest, Dennis allegedly directed them outside of eBay to conduct sales via e-mail. Numerous foreign individuals placed orders with Dennis for iPhones and other electronics. Dennis required payment to be electronically transferred to his bank account and once the transaction was confirmed, Dennis would send tracking numbers for packages that were never shipped.
When the buyers complained about not receiving their purchases, Dennis allegedly claimed he had filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service or hired carrier and that he could not refund their money until he knew where his goods were. Eventually, Dennis would cease communication with the victimized parties. The investigation leading to the filing of federal charges was initiated when a purchaser who did not receive merchandise nor a refund contacted law enforcement authorities.
The charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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Here's the US Attorney's office establishing their rap-music cred:
Willie D was the lead member of a Houston rap group known as the Geto Boys. Between 1989 and 1996, the group recorded a number of hit songs and had some albums that reached gold and or platinum status. In early 2005, the Geto Boys released a reunion album that was written and produced by Dennis. Dennis founded Relentless Music Ventures in 2006 and signed other groups.
Willie D is expected to appear in court later today.
Update: The US Attorney's office tells Hair Balls the arraignment had already taken place when the release went out, even though the release said it would take place later today.