Giant Cybercrime Ring Alleged in Texas

     DALLAS (CN) – Federal prosecutors say 19 people, mostly North Texans, ran a “massive cybercrime conspiracy” that took $15 million in goods and services from a slew of people and businesses, including AT&T and Verizon, Wells Fargo Bank, credit reporting agencies, power companies, insurance companies, air-conditioning companies and Web site developers.

     The superseding indictment alleges that a Southlake couple, Michael Faulkner, 36, and Chastity Faulkner, 24, both fugitives, conspired with 17 others, two of whom also are fugitives. The four fugitives are believed to have fled the country, the FBI said in a statement. “One anonymous Internet report suggested that Michael Faulkner was killed attempting to re-enter the U.S. from Mexico,” the FBI said. “This report has not been confirmed.”
     The ring is accused of making false statements to obtain goods such as computer and telecommunications equipment, services for them, and office space. They are accused of creating, buying, and using shell companies to hide the identity of the owners or operators and the relationships between the companies.
     “They also established P.O. Boxes, commercial remailer services, shell offices, apartments, or other physical locations to hide owners’ or operators’ identity or the relationships between the companies,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “They assumed multiple fake identities to hide true ownership of the shell companies and made materially false representations to their victims, by mail, fax, telephone, e-mail, or other communications.”
     FBI agents served warrants in March and April 2009 at the Faulkners’ home, and one of their businesses, Crydon, at 1950 Stemmons Freeway in Dallas. Searches were also conducted at Core IP, at 2323 Bryant Street in Dallas, and at other related businesses.
According to the FBI, the 19 defendants are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
     Defendants 3 through 7, who were charged in the original indictment, have made their initial appearances in federal court and, with the exception of defendant 6, are on pretrial release.
     Defendants 10 through 15, 18 and 19 were either arrested or surrendered to federal authorities. Defendants 16 and 17 are outside of the United States.
     Defendants 1, 2, 8 and 9 are believed to have fled the United States to avoid prosecution.
1. Chastity Lynn Faulkner, 34, of Southlake, Texas (fugitive)
2. Michael Blaine Faulkner, 36, of Southlake, Texas (fugitive)
3. Brian Patrick Haney, 36 of Plano, Texas
4. Eric Byron Littlejohn, II, 19, of Desoto, Texas
5. Nathan Todd Shafer, 31 of Irving, Texas
6. Matthew Norman Simpson, 25, of Red Oak, Texas
7. Alicia Nicole Cargill Smallwood, 28, of Midlothian, Texas
8. Jason Carter Watts, 32, of Plano, Texas (fugitive)
9. William Michael Watts, 38, of Plano, Texas (fugitive)
10. Logan L. Vig, 22, of Dallas, Texas
11. Arya Neal Behgooy, 33, of Plano, Texas
12. Christopher Wayne Sigler, 27, of Roanoke, Texas
13. Marcus William Wentrcek, 29, of Frisco, Texas
14. Valerian James Stock, 42, of New Orleans, Louisiana
15. Ricky J. Keele, 55, of Coppell, Texas
16. Dmitri Siiatski, 22, of Canada
17. Milos Vujanic, 29, of Eastern Europe
18. Jennifer Jo Gilliland, 29, of Phoenix, Arizona
19. Casimir A. Wojciechowski, aka Casey, 56, of Illinois
     Michael Faulkner is also charged with one count of obstruction – threatening a witness or informant; one count of obstruction – hiding assets; one count of obstruction – destruction of evidence; and one count of false registration of a domain name.
     Matthew Norman Simpson is also charged with one count of obstruction – destruction of evidence and one count of false registration of a domain name.
     Vig and Vujanic are also each charged with one count of obstruction – destruction of evidence.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Each of the obstruction charges carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If a defendant is convicted of a felony and also on false registration of a domain name, the penalty for that felony conviction is doubled, or increased by 7 years, whichever is less.

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