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Rapper Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

(CN) - Rapper Willie D pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges for selling Apple iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless and failing to deliver them. The rapper, whose name is William Dennis, defrauded victims of more than $132,000, according to federal prosecutors in Houston.

Dennis, 42, posed as an electronics salesman and used eBay to establish credibility with international buyers. When a buyer showed interest, Dennis directed the buyer outside of eBay to conduct sales via e-mail.

Several foreign customers ordered iPhones and other electronics from Dennis, prosecutors said in a statement announcing the guilty plea.

Dennis had payments electronically transferred to his bank account and then sent tracking numbers for packages that were never shipped. When the buyers complained, Dennis would claim he had filed a complaint with the Postal Service or a hired carrier, and that he could not refund the money until he knew where his goods were.

Ultimately, Dennis would stop communicating with his victims. Twenty-nine people were defrauded of approximately $132,303 between September 2008 and April 2009, prosecutors said.

The FBI arrested Dennis on May 13 as he returned from a trip overseas. He was indicted on June 9.

He faces up to 20 years in prison, 5 years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the wire fraud conviction. As part of his plea agreement, Dennis will make restitution at or before sentencing.

"Willie D" was the lead member of the Houston rap group Geto Boys. Between 1991 and 1996, three of the group's singles hit the charts and the group released two albums that went gold and one that went platinum.

In 2005, the Geto Boys released a reunion album that was written and produced by Dennis. Earlier this year, Dennis was featured on a song called "Down South Hustlaz" with other hip-hop artists, including Young Buck, Trae, Bun B, and Rick Ross.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller set sentencing for April 23, 2010. Dennis will be permitted to remain on bond until then.

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