HOUSTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- William James Dennis, a rapper known professionally as Willie D., has pleaded guilty in a Houston court to wire fraud charges, officials said.
The charges stem from his purported sales of Apple iPhones through a company known as Texas One Wireless, U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers have announced.
Dennis, 42, admitted at a court hearing Friday to posing as an electronics salesman and using eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers.
Once a buyer showed interest, Dennis said he directed the buyer outside of eBay to conduct sales via e-mail.
Numerous foreign individuals placed orders with Dennis for iPhones and other electronics. Dennis required payment to be electronically transferred to his bank account. Once the transaction was confirmed, Dennis would send tracking numbers for packages that were never shipped.
Twenty-nine individuals were defrauded of approximately $132,303 between September 2008 and April 2009, officials said.
"Financial frauds, whether committed in person or via the Internet, victimize individuals, communities and the economy at large," Powers said in a statement. "Those who feel these crimes can be committed with impunity will learn that the Houston Area Cyber Crimes Task Force will continue to provide investigative and analytic resources to combat and discourage Internet fraud."
Dennis faces up to 20 years' imprisonment to be followed by up to a five-year term of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000. As part of his agreement, Dennis will make full restitution at or before sentencing.
His sentencing has been set for April 23. Dennis will be permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing, officials said.