The [artist id=”8068″]Geto Boys[/artist] rapper Willie D (born William James Dennis) was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday night at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and charged with wire fraud in connection with an alleged plot to sell iPhones over the Internet and then never delivering them.
According to the Houston Press, the arrest warrant in the case alleges that D, acting through a shell company called Texas One Wireless, arranged to sell iPhones and other electronics to overseas buyers over the Internet. Beginning in September 2008, Willie D allegedly used eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. Once a buyer became interested, D then allegedly moved the transaction outside of eBay to an e-mail account.
Once the buyers had electronically transferred money into his account, the warrant claims, the rapper would send tracking numbers for packages that were never shipped. When the shipments never arrived and the buyers complained about not receiving their purchases, officials allege the rapper claimed he filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service or the carrier handling the shipment, but that he could not refund their money until he tracked down the goods.
At some point, investigators claim, Dennis would stop communicating with the buyers, which led one of the disgruntled customers to contact law enforcement authorities. The charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
D earned his fame as the leader of the legendary Houston underground rap grew the Geto Boys, whose 1991 album featured the bleak, iconic #1 single, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” which he co-wrote. He quit the group in 1992 for a solo career, only to rejoin four years later for the group’s reunion album, The Resurrection.
The rapper appeared before a U.S. Magistrate judge in federal court on Thursday, according to the Houston Chronicle, and is due back in court on Friday (May 15), when it will be determined if he will be offered bail, since prosecutors consider him a flight risk.