Selling Fake Certificates
An unsealed indictment says Lamont Godfrey, Eugene Johnson, Shunmanique Willis and Alonzo Williams all worked together to create and sell counterfeit certificates from the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy to merchant mariners for a profit.
Charges Against Them
Godfrey, Johnson, Willis, and Williams were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.
How did they do it?
The academy is a state-of-the-art training center that offers mariners more than 100 U.S. Coast Guard-approved deck and engineering courses that are necessary for merchant mariners to be posted on merchant vessels.
Godfrey worked for the school for a time as its Chief Administrator. He used his position to create the phony certificates for mariners who never took courses, then sold them for thousands of dollars.
The mariners would receive the fake certificates along with instructions on how to load them in the Coast Guard systems and be credited with a fraudulent Coast Guard qualification.
Johnson, Willis and Williams worked as brokers to find additional mariners willing to buy fake certificates. They received a cut of the proceeds from the scheme.
Sold More than 150 Fake Certificates
The conspiracy ended up netting more than $200,000 in profits from the production of these certificates. All four who were charged also sold the certificates to more than 150 mariners.
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Source: 13 News Now