MM Curator summary
The article below has been highlighted and summarized by our research team. It is provided here for member convenience as part of our Curator service.
[MM Curator Summary]: Dewan stole Medicaid bennie IDs and got 3,000 free guvmt cell phones.
LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced a joint investigation between the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Office of Inspector General has resulted in charges against a Detroit man for using stolen personal information from thousands of identity theft victims to defraud the State.
The Attorney General alleges that Dewan Anton Williams, 47, was able to purchase social security numbers from identity theft victims off the dark web, and then used the information to submit nearly 3,000 fraudulent Medicaid applications to qualify for and receive free government cell phones. After receiving the phones, Williams is accused of activating the stolen phones and selling them.
As a result of the investigation, approximately 150 new and pre-packaged Safelink Wireless phones were recovered from Williams’ home along with personal information stolen from approximately 7,000 identity theft victims. The submission of these fraudulent applications cost the State of Michigan $11 million in unnecessary payments. After the accounts were determined to be fraudulent, they were shut down and the State was able to recoup the money.
Williams was arraigned in 36th District Court in Detroit on September 29 and entered a plea of not guilty. Williams is charged with the following:
- One count of Criminal Enterprises – Conducting, a 20-year felony and/or $100,000;
- Three counts of Identity Theft, five-year felonies and/or $25,000;
- Three Counts of Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime, seven-year felonies and/or $5,000;
- Three Counts of Welfare Fraud Over $500, four-year felonies and/or $5,000.
“The threat of identity theft is real, and I urge Michigan residents to educate and protect themselves against potential victimization,” said Nessel. “My Michigan Identity Theft Support team, known as MITS, stands ready to assist victims of identity theft in recovering from the impact of this crime and my team of prosecutors will continue to work to hold perpetrators accountable.”
MITS, part of the Consumer Protection Team, helps victims navigate the challenges of identity theft and provides victims with resources and guidance to minimize damage caused by identity theft. MITS encourages Michigan residents to protect themselves from identity theft by ensuring their sensitive information is secure on paper, online, on a mobile device, or stored in a computer.
“Identity theft is on the rise in Michigan,” said MDHHS Inspector General Alan Kimichik. “The impact of the work of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) sends a clear message to those who intend to steal taxpayer-funded resources that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The OIG is committed to protecting the integrity of public assistance programs and ensuring the appropriate use of available public resources.
Williams was given a $100,000 personal recognizance bond. A probable cause conference was held October 5 and a preliminary examination is scheduled for November 1 at 9am.