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Nov 7 - Savannah Resident Indicted in Airline Miles and Identity Theft Hacking Scheme

SBJ Staff Report

Nov 7, 2011 - A young adult from Savannah, Richard Louis Williams, 23, had his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith in Savannah after being indicted last week by a federal grand jury for conspiring to use the stolen identities of Delta SkyMiles and American Airlines AAdvantage members to purchase airplane tickets, hotel rooms, and merchandise for himself and others.

The indictment charges Williams with one count of conspiracy which carries a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison; one count of access device fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years in prison; two counts of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years in prison; and four counts of aggravated identity theft which carries a minimum mandatory of two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.  All charges also carry a fine of up to $250,000 per count.

According to United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver, “Individuals who are alleged to have engaged in financial fraud and identity theft crimes, of any type, will be apprehended and prosecuted in the Southern District of Georgia.   Financial fraud and identity theft impact millions of Americans. The United States Attorney’s Office will not ignore its obligation to protect victims from these invasive crimes.”    

Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The indictment of Williams arises out of a joint ongoing investigation by United States Secret Service and the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Natalie Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States. 


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