Leader of multi-state identity fraud ring sentenced to federal prison

BRUNSWICK, GA — The leader of an elaborate multi-state fraud and identity theft ring has been sentenced to federal prison, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Kenson Hunte, 39, of Canton, Ga., was sentenced to 34 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to use five or more false identification documents, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered Hunte to pay restitution of $104,347.16.

“Hunte led his codefendants into a theft and fraud scheme for no purposes other than to enrich themselves at the expense of innocent victims,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “Prison time and the payment of substantial restitution will help hold him accountable for his crimes.”

According to court documents, Sheryl Henderson, 39, Colby Hart, 27, and Monique Laing, 23, previously entered guilty pleas for their involvement in the scheme and have been sentenced.

Back in March 2019, Henderson was driving with Hunte and the other two as passengers on State Road 27 in Glynn County when a Georgia State Patrol trooper pulled her over for speeding. During a subsequent search, troopers found 44 fake driver’s licenses and identification cards appearing to have been issued in various states, with all of the cards using the personal information of other individuals.

Evidence presented in court showed that beginning in or about January 2019 through May 2019 in Jefferson County, in the Northern District of Alabama, Hunte and a co-conspirator used the fraudulently created identification cards to purchase cell phones and network contracts through a third-party retailer in a Wal-Mart store in Homewood, Ala.

Hunte paid only a percentage of the cost upfront for the phones and contracts, fraudulently purchasing approximately 127 phones.

The conspirator received employee commissions from the retailer and kickbacks from Hunte, while Hunte profited from the black market sale of the fraudulently obtained phones. The total loss amount from the conspiracy is $104,347.16 – the amount Hunte is ordered to repay.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.