Willie D of The Geto Boys has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison on wire fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Texas announced today.
Willie D plead not guilty to 15 counts of wire fraud, according to court papers.
According to The Houston Press, Willie D, real name William James Dennis, allegedly posed as an online salesman for a company that was selling the iPhone. Dennis would then proceed to take the orders through eBay as well as other online channels.
The crime being considered is once the funds were sent, they were transferred into the rapper’s account.
In order to fool the buyers, he sent out fake tracking numbers, but never sent them the iPhone. When the buyers tried to get in contact and figure out where their purchase was, Dennis reportedly told them that their package was lost in the mail.
He would not provide refunds for the buyers until he was able to find the whereabouts of the alleged phone. The case was made known when an overseas purchaser made a complaint with the authorities.
After being found guilty, the famed Houston MC, born Willie Dennis, was also ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution to the buyers who thought they were getting iPhones and other electronics through D’s Texas One Wireless Company, but were really getting conned.
Judge Miller also sentenced Willie D to three years of supervised release following his prison term. Here is the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
William James Dennis, aka Willie D, has been sentenced to prison for his conviction on wire fraud charges stemming from his purported sales of Apple iphones through a company known as Texas One Wireless, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers announced today.
At a hearing today before United States District Court Judge Gray Miller, the rap music recording artist was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for a scam in which he admitted to posing as an electronics salesman and using eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once a buyer showed interest, Dennis directed the buyer outside of eBay to conduct sales via e-mail. Dennis will serve three years on supervised release following completion of his prison term and was ordered to pay $194,087.17 in restitution less the 13,912.52 that was seized at the time of his arrest.
Numerous foreign individuals placed orders with Dennis, 44, for iphones and other electronics. Dennis required payment to be electronically transferred to his bank account. 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 would claim he had filed a complaint with the 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. Thirty-five individuals were defrauded of $194,087.17 between September 2008 and April 2009.
Dennis was arrested by FBI agents on May 13, 2009, as he returned from a trip overseas and was indicted on June 9, 2009. Previously released on bond, Dennis was permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prison facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve his sentence.
The charges arose after victims who did not receive merchandise nor refunds after many attempts complained to law enforcement. The case was investigated by Houston Area Cyber Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of personnel from the FBI, Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office, who received assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack.
Willie D was the lead member of a Houston rap group known as the Geto Boys. Between 1989 and 1996 they 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 groups Nay Nay and Huntzville.