Last Thursday, KPRC Channel 2 in Houston ran a story during its evening news titled Rapper Charged In Wire Fraud Scam. (The video segment can be seen here.) In the segment, reporter Phil Archer details charges against a local Houston rapper, William James Dennis--aka Willie D--who has been accused of a wire fraud scam involving the Apple iPhone. According to Archer's report:
Acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson said William James Dennis, 42, who goes by the name Willie D, posed as an electronics salesman and used eBay to establish credibility with international buyers.
Dennis was selling Apple iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless, Johnson said.
The criminal complaint accused Dennis of directing interested buyers outside eBay to conduct the sales via e-mail.
Dennis required payment to be electronically transferred to his bank account, officials said. He sent the buyers tracking numbers for packages, but they were never shipped, the complaint claimed.
The complaint said that when buyers complained about not receiving their items, Dennis claimed he filed complaints with the shipping service and told the buyer that he could not give them a refund until he knew where the goods were.
Dennis would cease all communications with the buyers, officials said.
FBI agents accused Dennis of bilking at least eight foreign buyers out of more than $65,000.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office: Willie D 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 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 other groups.
It doesn't surprise us that a device as popular as the iPhone is being used to defraud others--especially people in countries where the iPhone isn't readily available, but may work for them if jailbroken and unlocked. Are you in a country where you cannot buy an iPhone on the open market? Are you aware of any other crimes involving the iPhone? Let us know in the comments.