GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan man will spend at least two years in prison after stealing the identities of approximately 7,000 people and bilking the state of Michigan out of $11 million.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced the sentencing Tuesday. Dewan Williams, a 47-year-old man from Detroit, was sentenced Friday to two to 20 years behind bars, plus restitution.
Williams was found guilty of one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and one count of identity theft, a five-year felony. According to a release, Nessel’s office was first tipped off by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services after receiving multiple complaints from victims who claimed their identities were used to apply for government aid without their approval.
While investigating Williams’ home, officers recovered about 150 cellphones and personal information from approximately 7,000 victims. Once the accounts were determined to be fraudulent, they were shut down and the state was able to recoup the money.
Nessel said the threat of identity theft is real and urged Michigan residents to educate themselves to avoid being a potential victim.
“My Michigan Identity Theft Support team, known as MITS, stands ready to assist victims of identity theft in recovering from the impact of this crime and my team of prosecutors will continue to work to hold perpetrators accountable,” Nessel said.
Williams is required to turn himself in on June 29.