A Moroccan immigrant who was previously convicted of fraud has pleaded guilty to identity theft and fraud charges after he used stolen identities to earn illegal wages in Tampa and South Florida, acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced Thursday.
Rany Smith was charged with stealing the identities of other immigrants to carry out fraud schemes. He faces up to 22 years in prison.
Smith, 48, moved to Tampa after he was convicted and sentenced to probation for public benefits fraud in Boston.
According to court documents, Smith became the manager of a Tampa franchise and used his stolen identities to create fictitious employees on the business’s payroll and collected wages for months.
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Prosecutors said Smith attempted a similar scam while working as the manager of a Delray Beach business. That time, he allegedly hired real people who received extra wages when Smith inflated the hours on their time cards.
Finally, Smith used the stolen identities of North African immigrants to take out lines of credit, which he used to order thousands of dollars in purchases that were sent to his Tampa address, according to court records.
Smith has also been ordered to pay restitution to his victims and forfeit $93,586.65 in ill-gotten gains. His sentencing date has not been set.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations’ National Security Division, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.