Houston rapper arrested on wire fraud charge

May 14, 2009 9:43:14 AM PDT
A Houston rap artist was arrested Wednesday night on wire fraud charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

William James Dennis, also known as "Willie D" is charged with wire fraud stemming from his alleged sales of Apple iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says that beginning in September of 2008, Dennis, posing as an electronics salesman, used eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once buyers 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 allegedly 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 stop communicating with the alleged victims.

Dennis was arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport Wednesday after returning from a trip overseas.

If convicted, Dennis could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, followed by up to five years of supervised release and restitution to the victims.

Dennis 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 went gold and platinum. 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.

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