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Wellington men pleaded guilty to ID fraud conspiracy

By Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH — Two Wellington men who were part of a ring that stole debit and credit cards from residential mail boxes pleaded guilty Friday to a variety of charges, including fraud and identity theft.

Ricardo Lee Penn, 48, and Dorian Jerrell Cawley, 26, both of Wellington, pled guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit mail theft and access device fraud, unauthorized use of access devices and aggravated identity theft.  Penn also pled guilty to mail theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Two co-defendants who were also indicted in this case, Jamaal Willie Williams and Willie Antwon Little, are scheduled to be in court on Feb. 25. A fifth defendant, Horace Lincoln Taffe, previously pleaded guilty.

Penn and Cawley, according to court records, stole credit and debit cards from the mailboxes of residents of Wellington and other cities, and used those cards to make purchases and cash. In some cases, multiple $500 money orders were purchased using the stolen debit cards, which were then cashed by Penn, Cawley and others. In other cases, they made large purchases at area stores and restaurants.

According to court documents, one victim lost more than $160,000; another lost more than $66,000. A third victim lost about $44,000, and a fourth lost about $26,000. All four lived in Wellington and had their identities compromised because of the theft. The identities of many other victims were stolen as well; Penn admitted that these crimes caused fraud losses of $786,000.

Penn and Cawley are scheduled for sentencing on April 27. Each face up to 10 years in prison on the access device fraud charge plus a consecutive two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft, and up to five years on the conspiracy count. In addition, Penn faces prison terms of up to 5 years on the mail theft count and up to 10 years on the firearm charge. Both defendants also face up to $250,000 in fines and mandatory restitution as to each charge against them.

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