MEMPHIS, TN - October 20, 2015 - Five men have been indicted for their roles in a shipping theft scheme that defrauded FedEx of more than $1.7 million. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the indictment today.
The defendants include:
Christopher T. Crawford, 31, Memphis, former FedEx material handler
Akeem Gowdy, 23, Memphis, former FedEx material handler
Tavaris Mickens, 23, Memphis, former FedEx supervisor
Juan Royal, 24, New York City, co-conspirator
Jordan West, 27, New York City, co-conspirator
According to the indictment, throughout 2013 and 2014, all five defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit interstate shipping theft of wireless mobile devices from both Verizon and AT&T. The mobile devices were being shipped throughout the United States by FedEx.
Three of the defendants — Crawford, Gowdy and Mickens — were employed with FedEx during the scheme’s duration. They used fraudulent FedEx corporate shipping accounts to print labels, which they used to over-label boxes of wireless devices. These boxes were diverted to other known and unknown co-conspirators in New York City and other cities through interstate commerce. Each box of merchandise contained thousands of dollars worth of Verizon and/or AT&T wireless mobile devices.
As part of the fraud, Crawford and West sent $10,000 in U.S. currency via FedEx to one another. In mid-2013, Crawford also contacted a FedEx vendor call center in Tucson, Arizona to set up a fraudulent corporate shipping meter account via his wireless mobile telephone.
According to the indictment, each of the defendants knew the wireless devices were stolen when they engaged in acts to perpetrate the crime. Ultimately, the interstate shipping theft scheme defrauded FedEx of more than $1.7 million.
All five defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of interstate shipping theft. The defendants face individual sentences of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000 for each count.
Crawford and West are also charged with one count of mail fraud. They face individual sentences of up to 20 years’ imprisonment for this offense and fines of up to $250,000.
Crawford is also charged with one count of wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment for this offense and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Memphis Cargo Theft Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Damon K. Griffin is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee
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