MM Curator summary
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[MM Curator Summary]: We reported on this several months back, and now the sentencing has happened. Dewan gets between 2 and 20 years for the giant identity theft scam he ran to steal $11M of your tax dollars.
A Detroit man accused of stealing personal information from thousands of people to commit Medicaid fraud has been sentenced to two to 20 years in prison, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday.
Dewan Williams, 47, of Detroit, was charged with several crimes in October and pleaded guilty in January to conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and identity theft, a five-year felony, according to court records.
Initially, Williams was also charged with three counts of using a computer to commit a crime, each a seven-year felony, and three counts of welfare fraud over $500, each a four-year felony.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mariam Bazzi handed down the sentence last week and ordered Williams to pay restitution. Williams is required to turn himself in at an adjourned sentencing date of June 29, according to Nessel’s office.
Authorities said Williams bought Social Security numbers of identity theft victims on the dark web and used the information to obtain free cellphones under a federal Medicaid program. After he received the phones, he would sell them for a profit.
An investigation into Williams’ scheme began after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General received complaints from multiple victims about their identities being used to fraudulently apply for government aid. The department contacted the Attorney General’s Office, which turned to the Michigan State Police.
A joint investigation between the health department and state police uncovered the scheme and led to a search of Williams’ house. Investigators found 150 new and pre-packaged cell phones as well as the stolen personal information of about 7,000 identity theft victims.
“Identity theft is on the rise in Michigan,” said Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Alan Kimichik said in a statement. ” … The OIG is committed to protecting the integrity of public assistance programs and ensuring the appropriate use of available public resources.”
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Officials said Williams’ operation cost the state $11 million in unnecessary payments. After the accounts were determined to be fraudulent, the state shut them down and recouped its money, they said.
“The threat of identity theft is real,” Nessel said in a statement, “and I urge Michigan residents to educate and protect themselves against potential victimization.”