A Germantown man was charged yesterday with defrauding the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office and others of more than $650,000 in an identity-theft scam.
Amin Rashid, who also used the name Lawrence D. Wilson, was charged in a federal indictment with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and passing an altered postal money order, said the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Rashid operated the Center for Constitutional and Criminal Justice, a company that was supposedly helping those whose properties were sold at sheriff's sales to recover the properties or proceeds from the sales, according to the indictment.
He would collect fees from clients and photocopy their driver's licenses but provide no services, the indictment alleges.
Rashid would then submit fraudulent identification and forged power-of-attorney documents to the Sheriff's Office to collect proceeds from sheriff's sales, the indictment alleges.
In some cases, the prior owners died before the dates of their signatures, according to the indictment.
Rashid also submitted to the Sheriff's Office fake corporate resolutions that purportedly authorized him and his attorney to collect any proceeds from sheriff's sales of properties last owned by the corporations, the indictment said. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to identify Rashid's lawyer, indicating that he is not accused of any wrongdoing.
If convicted, Rashid faces a sentence of up to 221 years in prison and a $4.7 million fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.