LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William T. Sims Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, announced today that defendant Kenneth Potts was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages in Miami, Florida, on July 28, 2006, to a term of 27 months in prison and a term of 3 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $279,593.93.
On July 19, 2006, a grand jury returned an eleven count Indictment charging defendants Freddie Newton, Travis Robinson, and Kenneth Potts with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341. Freddie Newton and Travis Robinson were also charged with making, uttering and possessing counterfeit checks, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 513(a) and 2.
According to court records, in April 2003, Freddie Newton and Travis Robinson formed Federal Auditing Express and obtained 50 Nextel phones with cellular service from Nextel. They paid for the phones with a counterfeit check and then sold the phones on the street for $200-225 each with service. The buyers paid Federal Auditing Express for the monthly usage of the phone. Newton and Robinson paid Nextel with counterfeit checks. When Nextel notified them that the checks were not good, Newton and Robinson apologized and issued another counterfeit check. Kenneth Potts later joined Federal Auditing Express and became a partner in the scheme. A total of 150 phones were ordered from Nextel. When Nextel discontinued its service, Newton, Robinson and Potts ordered phones from T-Mobile. When T-Mobile discontinued service, the defendants switched to Verizon and repeated the scheme. They continued the same scheme until Verizon cut off service, at which point they switched to Sprint and ordered phones to repeat the scheme. The total loss incurred was approximately $279,593.93.
On September 16, 2005, Newton pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and was sentenced on March 31, 2006 to16 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $279,593.93 in restitution. On February 7, 2006, Robinson also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was sentenced on June 27, 2006 to18 months in prison and ordered to pay $279,593.93 in restitution. Potts proceeded to trial and was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Secret Service. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer A. Keene and Laurie Rucoba.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/ .