Rapper Willie D indicted in scam

June 9, 2009 2:05:08 PM PDT
William James Dennis, aka Willie D, has been indicted by a grand jury on 15 counts of wire fraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. A summons setting a date for his arraignment on the charges is expected to issue in the near future.Dennis, 42, a rap music recording artist, has been indicted on wire fraud charges stemming from his purported sales of Apple iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless. According to the US Attorney's Office, Dennis, allegedly posing as an electronics salesman, used eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once a buyer showed interest, Dennis directed them outside of eBay to conduct sales via e-mail, according to the indictment.

Numerous foreign individuals placed orders for iPhones and other electronics with Dennis who allegedly required payment be electronically transferred to his bank account. Once the transaction was confirmed, tracking numbers for packages that were never shipped were allegedly sent by Dennis. When the buyers complained about not receiving their purchases, Dennis, according to the indictment, 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, communications with the victimized parties ceased.

The charges against Dennis are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI. Dennis came to the attention of law enforcement when alerted by victims who did not receive merchandise nor refunds after many attempts on their behalf to remedy the situation.

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.

The arrest took place on May 13, 2009, as Dennis returned from a trip overseas. If convicted, Dennis faces up to 20 years in federal prison and can be fined up to $250,000. The period of incarceration can be followed by up to five years supervised release. Restitution to the victims may also be ordered by the court. Dennis is currently on bond pending trial in this case.

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