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Sentence Begins for Detroit Man who Conducted $11 Million State Benefits Scam
July 03, 2023
LANSING – Dewan Williams, 47, of Detroit, turned himself in to the custody of Michigan Department of Corrections last week to begin serving out his 2-20 year sentence for operating a sophisticated state and federal benefits scheme that cost the State of Michigan $11 million. Williams was sentenced in February 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. He was also ordered to pay restitution.
“The threat of identity theft is real, and I urge Michigan residents to educate and protect themselves against potential victimization,” said Nessel at the time of sentencing. “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.”
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 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.