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Wayne County Man Sentenced for Conducting Criminal Enterprise

LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that a Wayne County man who previously pled guilty to Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and Identity Theft charges has been sentenced.  

Dewan Williams, 47, of Detroit, was sentenced on February 17, 2023, in the 3rd Circuit Court on one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and one count of Identity Theft, a 5-year felony, for using personal information stolen from thousands of identity theft victims to defraud the State and financially benefit himself.  

“It is imperative that individuals have their personal information protected and it is especially egregious when bad actors use that information to defraud government programs,” Nessel said. “My office will always remain committed to defending Michiganders and ensuring our state agencies work together to protect residents from these fraudulent practices.”  

Judge Mariam Bazzi sentenced Williams to 2 to 20 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. The judge also ordered restitution.  

This matter was originally referred to the Michigan Department of Attorney General from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General after multiple victims raised concerns about their identities being used to fraudulently apply for government aid without their approval. 

MDHHS and the Michigan State Police conducted a joint investigation and determined Williams was conducting a sophisticated scheme where he used fraudulently approved Medicaid benefits to qualify for and receive free government cell phones. After receiving the phones, Williams would activate and sell them for a personal profit. 

As a result of the investigation, approximately 150 new and pre-packaged Safelink Wireless phones were recovered from Williams’ home along with personal information stolen from approximately 7,000 identity theft victims. The submission of these fraudulent applications cost the State of Michigan $11 million in unnecessary payments. After the accounts were determined to be fraudulent, they were shut down and the State was able to recoup the money. 

“The threat of identity theft is real, and I urge Michigan residents to educate and protect themselves against potential victimization,” said Nessel. “My Michigan Identity Theft Support team, known as MITS, stands ready to assist victims of identity theft in recovering from the impact of this crime and my team of prosecutors will continue to work to hold perpetrators accountable.”  

MITS, part of the Consumer Protection Team, helps victims navigate the challenges of identity theft and provides them with resources and guidance to minimize the damage caused by identity theft. MITS encourages Michigan residents to protect themselves from identity theft by ensuring that their sensitive information is secure on paper, online, on mobile devices, or stored on a computer.  

“Identity theft is on the rise in Michigan,” said MDHHS Inspector General Alan Kimichik. “The impact of the work of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) sends a clear message to those who intend to steal taxpayer-funded resources that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The OIG is committed to protecting the integrity of public assistance programs and ensuring the appropriate use of available public resources. 

Williams is required to turn himself in to custody at an adjourned sentencing date on June 29, 2023.  


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