By Candia Dames
Nassau Guardian Managing Editor
NASSAU, Bahamas -- United States authorities have announced the return of a 23-count indictment charging Bahamian Rudolph Kermit “Rudy” King, 46, of Nassau, with mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud.
According to the indictment, King created fictitious corporations that he then used to create merchant accounts with credit card processors.
“Rudolph Kermit King would inflate the amount of funds within the merchant account by charging unauthorized access devices,” said a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
“These funds would then be deposited to a small business checking account under King’s control, from which he withdrew funds.
“Finally, King used unauthorized access devices to purchase goods and services to fund his lifestyle.”
The indictment, dated May 8, says, if convicted, King faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and wire fraud, followed by three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution, and a consecutive two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.
When contacted by The Nassau Guardian on Sunday night, King said he did not know about the indictment and was “very surprised” to learn of it.
“I don’t know anything,” he said, adding that he was in Nassau.
“You got to be there (in the US) to be indicted. I am not aware of it whatsoever.”
He denied that he has been involved in fraud.
“I have not traveled to the US in seven years,” King said. “So if that is the case (that something was handed down) they have to prove it.”
According to the indictment, dated May 6, King, “did knowingly, and with intent to defraud, devise and intend to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, knowing that they were false and fraudulent when made, and for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice, and attempting to do so, did knowingly cause to be delivered certain mail matter by the United States Postal Service and commercial interstate carrier...”
The grand jury charges that King tried to “unlawfully enrich himself by fraudulently seizing control of merchant, credit card and other accounts for which he did not have authorization; conducting unauthorized purchases of goods and services using those accounts; conducting unauthorized transactions that were designed to transfer large amounts of money to a bank account over which [he] had control, and appropriating the money to his own use via cash withdrawals and other point-of-sale transactions”.
The indictment goes into great detail on the alleged scheme.
Among other things, US authorities allege that King applied to incorporate multiple businesses by electronically filing an article of incorporation with the state department of various states, typically Florida and Georgia, in the United States.
“King used names belonging to real individuals, without their consent, as the registered agents of these corporations,” the indictment alleges.
“King paid the fees for the incorporation via unauthorized access devices, that is, credit card account numbers obtained with the intent to defraud.”
The indictment claims that once a given corporation was newly formed, King applied in the name of a stolen identity for a CMRA (commercial mail receiving agency) address for that corporation.
The indictment alleges that King received credit cards, also known as access devices, in the names of other people from various credit card institutions, without the authorization of those individual account holders.
It alleges that he received the physical credit cards via the established CMRAs.
“Upon receipt, King used the unauthorized access devices to make unauthorized purchases of goods and services,” the indictment says.
“King used these purchases to fund his lifestyle and pay for goods and services on behalf of others.”
The indictment goes on to outline other elements of the fraudulent scheme King is accused of being involved in.
The release noted, “An indictment is only an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian