01/19/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/19/2023 17:24
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Travon Demetrius Hardie, a/k/a "Juug," age 25, of Washington, D.C., to 54 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, in connection with a scheme to use the stolen personal information of identity theft victims to obtain financing to purchase luxury vehicles. Judge Xinis also ordered Hardie to pay restitution of $56,920.77 and entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $697,041.13. The sentence was imposed on January 17, 2023.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Ross Luciano of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Postal Inspector in Charge Damon E. Wood of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Chief Russell E. Hamill III of the Laurel Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, from November 2020 through February 2022, Hardie and co-defendants John Paul Thompson, Jr. and Nickolas Alexander Mathis, obtained the stolen personal identifying information ("PII") of identity theft victims, manufactured fake identification documents with the stolen PII, and used those fake identification documents to attempt to obtain financing for the purchase of at least 31 luxury vehicles from dealerships in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia. Hardie admitted that he manufactured some of the fraudulent identification documents which were used to perpetuate the ongoing fraud scheme.
The attempted loss as a result of the scheme was at least $1,808,708.47, and the defendants used, without permission, the names and personal identifying information of at least 25 victims. Hardie successfully obtained at least 11 automobiles, worth at least $697.041.13, as a result of the scheme. In addition to paying restitution, Hardie must also forfeit: a rifle with no serial number; two high capacity drum magazines for the rifle; three handguns; eight magazines; more than 300 rounds of ammunition; and other items used to create the fraudulent identity documents, all of which were recovered during searches of locations related the fraud scheme.
Co-defendants Nickolas Alexander Mathis, age 38, of Laurel, Maryland, and John Paul Thompson, Jr., age 38, of Lanham, Maryland, have both pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme. Each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud conspiracy and for wire fraud; and a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. Judge Xinis has scheduled sentencing for Thompson and Mathis for February 1, 2023 and February 24, 2023, respectively.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the U.S. Secret Service, the HSI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Laurel Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah Grossi and Geonard Butler, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office, its priorities, and resources available to report fraud, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/report-fraud.
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