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Fraudster Preyed on FEMA Victims

200 Identities Stolen Funded Spending Spree

Washington D. C. - (Dec. 5, 2008) Robert G. Davis, a former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee and clerk for various mortgage companies, has been sentenced to a term of 64 months in prison for stealing personal identification information of over 200 persons, fraudulently opening over $150,000 in credit accounts with various retailers in the names of the victims, and ordering merchandise for himself on these accounts, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, Special Agent-in-Charge Jeffrey Irvine of the U.S. Secret Service, and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced today.

Davis, 44, a resident of Southeast Washington D.C., received his sentence today in U.S. District Court before the Honorable Reggie B. Walton, after pleading guilty in April 2008 to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Judge Walton expressed visible dismay over the defendant's victimization of survivors of natural disasters who had applied to FEMA for aid, calling Davis' actions particularly "cold hearted" and "really low-down." The Court also ordered Davis to pay over $48,700 in restitution.

The conviction was the result of investigative efforts initiated by the D.C. Metro Area Fraud Task Force, a joint area law enforcement initiative that coordinates fraud investigations by federal authorities, including the U.S. Secret Service, and local law enforcement agencies, including MPD.

"The defendant's conduct in this matter was particularly galling given that he stole the identities of victims of natural disasters whom he was entrusted to assist," said U.S. Attorney Taylor. "His actions undermined the trust placed in our government, not to mention wreaking havoc on the credit rating of his victims."

According to the Statement of Offense to which Davis pled guilty, between December 2003 and November 2007, Davis stole the identities of over 200 people (ID Theft Victims) while working as a clerk at various mortgage companies operating in the District of Columbia area and as a FEMA Human Services Specialist who worked with the victims of natural disasters. Davis stole the identities of the ID Theft Victims without the knowledge of his employers by copying their personal information from loan applications the ID Theft Victims had submitted to FEMA or the mortgage companies. Approximately 30 of the 200 ID Theft Victims had their identities stolen from FEMA, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security after they had submitted their personal information as part of their applications for disaster relief.

After obtaining the ID Theft Victims' personal information, Davis called various retailers impersonating the ID Theft Victims and fraudulently opened credit accounts in their names. Davis used the identities of at least 74 ID Theft Victims to open accounts with The Home Shopping Network, Ginny's Inc., Shop NBC, QVC, Inc. (collectively, "Retailers"), and he fraudulently obtained credit with these Retailers in excess of $156,257. Impersonating the ID Theft Victims, Davis fraudulently ordered dozens of items that were delivered to his home, or other addresses near his home. The items ordered by Davis included gold and diamond jewelry, designer watches, digital cameras, DVDs, Dyson vacuum cleaners, gourmet food (including steaks, lobster, and seafood), lingerie, clothing, jackets, DVD players and other electronic items. After obtaining these items, Davis would either keep them for personal use or pawn them at pawnshops in and around the Washington, D.C. area. Between December 2003 and November 2007, Davis pawned dozens of items and obtained over $24,084 in cash from the pawnshops in exchange for the items he fraudulently obtained from the Retailers.

In announcing today's sentence, U.S. Attorney Taylor, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent-in-Charge Irvine, and Chief Lanier praised the hard work and persistence of the investigative agents involved in this matter, especially Special Agent Daniel Sperco of the U.S. Secret Service, and MPD Detective Richard Espinosa. They also acknowledged the efforts of Legal Assistant Michael Thompson, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal S. Chawla who prosecuted this matter.

SOURCE: United States Attorney's Office
District of Columbia

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