Dothan man pleads guilty to elaborate theft scheme
A Dothan man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he and a suspected co-conspirator masterminded an elaborate theft scheme that defrauded unsuspecting victims.
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A Dothan man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he and a suspected co-conspirator masterminded an elaborate theft scheme that defrauded unsuspecting victims.
Court documents show Jalen Kendel Whaley entered the pleas to one count of Wire Fraud and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.
In return, prosecuting attorneys dropped more than a dozen similar charges, those documents reveal.
In March, a grand jury indicted Whaley, 35, and codefendant Courtney Byrd, 33, accusing them of defrauding several victims out of an undisclosed amount.
Investigators claimed the duo hacked into their personal information.
According to the indictment, Whaley and Byrd deposited stolen funds into Houston County inmate accounts.
When those inmates were released, unsuspecting jail personnel issued checks for balances in their accounts.
Prosecuting attorneys also said Whaley and Byrd used stolen cards and information to transfer funds to prepaid debit cards illegally.
According to the Department of Justice, they collected unemployment benefits and booked hotel rooms using their ill-gotten information.
Neither Whaley nor Byrd are strangers to law enforcement.
Houston County Circuit Judge Larry Anderson, who has since retired, sentenced Whaley to three years in December 2021 on a stolen property charge.
His other arrests include drug trafficking, drug possession, and robbery.
Byrd also has an Alabama criminal history, including drugs, theft, and burglary.
In 2020, he was the target of a Dothan police search that forced schools to lockdown their campuses out of danger concerns.
He awaits trial on the federal charges he faces, while Whaley has a pending sentencing date following his guilty plea.
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