Feds: Gwinnett man must pay $697K to rappers, NFL players he defrauded

A Dacula man has been sentenced to prison time and nearly $700,000 in restitution for defrauding rappers and professional athletes through their Apple accounts.

Kwamaine Jerell Ford, 27, was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison Thursday. He must also pay $697,370 in restitution to victims. He entered a guilty plea to one count of computer fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on March 28. He had been indicted on six counts each of wire fraud, computer fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in April 2018.

Ford began his scheme in at least March 2015, according to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. Targeting NBA players, NFL players, college athletes and professional musicians, he posed as an Apple customer support agent in emails and requested victims’ Apple ID credentials. In “thousands” of messages, Ford instructed potential victims to send their usernames, passwords and answers to security questions under the guise of the need to reset accounts or send videos. At least 100 people provided this information, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Ford used victims’ credentials to lock them out of their own accounts and steal their credit card information, the Justice Department said. Ford spent $322,567 on these cards in three years, using them for flights, car rentals, hotels, restaurants, cash transfers and retail purchases.

“Ford targeted celebrities and professional athletes in his identity theft scheme and used credit card information stolen from these victims to fund his personal lifestyle,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Citizens should remember that anyone can fall prey to identity theft, and they should be vigilant in protecting their personal information.”

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