Chicago Rapper to Plead Guilty to Using Stolen Credit Cards to Pay for Private Jets

A local Chicago rapper is going to plead guilty to using stolen credit cards to pay for private jet rides, luxury vehicles, and “designer” puppies. The charges were filed by the federal government in this case. The rapper is facing one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the court filing. Officials say he is one of six codefendants in the case. 

The rapper will plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and another count of making false statements. A wire fraud conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Prosecutors have filed paperwork affirming the agreement, but the judge still needs to sign off on the plea deal. Two counts of aggravated identity theft were dropped in negotiating the plea agreement. 

Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a fraud crime that uses electronic means to actuate fraud. In this case, the use of stolen credit card information is considered a type of wire fraud. In general, fraud charges are assigned a base amount of penalty points, but aggravating factors can drive up sentencing toward the maximum range. This depends on how much money was stolen, how sophisticated the scheme was, and the number of victims the fraud targeted. 

Aggravated Identity Theft

18 U.S.C. § 1028A defines aggravated identity theft as the knowingly transferring, using, or possession of identifying information of another person without their consent. The maximum sentence for aggravated identity theft is two years, added consecutively to the end of the sentence. That means that the two years are added on top of the sentence for another charge like wire fraud. In this case, the prosecution dropped two counts of aggravated identity theft and instead attached a lesser offense of making false statements as part of the plea bargain agreement. 

Understanding Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a federal crime that is used as a catch-all for a number of illegal acts that constitute fraud carried out by specific means. It is defined in  18 U.S.C. 1343. To be found guilty of wire fraud, the prosecution must establish that you had an intent and foreknowledge of the fraudulent act. In other words, you cannot accidentally commit wire fraud. The prosecution must establish that you intended to trick someone out of their money or use their money without their knowledge or consent. The use of a wire or communications device is a prerequisite for the criminal act of wire fraud. 

Generally speaking, there are four potential defenses to wire fraud, none of which would have applied to this defendant’s case. That is largely why the defendant chose to plead guilty to these charges. He did not have a real defense against using stolen credit cards.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of defendants who are charged with committing wire fraud and other fraud-based offenses. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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