Farmington Hills resident sentenced for alleged role in cell theft scheme

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published August 21, 2023

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FARMINGTON HILLS — According to a press release, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Farmington Hills resident Darius Whitlow, 31, was sentenced on Aug. 1 in Emmet County Circuit Court to 29-60 months in prison for his role in a cellphone theft scheme.

The sentencing was presided over by 57th Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Deegan.

Whitlow pleaded guilty to charges of organized retail fraud, false pretenses up to $1,000 and less than $20,000, and identity theft.

“Whitlow perpetrated a scheme in Emmet County using fake IDs to purchase cell phones from stores,” the release states. “Whitlow and his accomplices bought the phones on payment plans and paid only the sales tax upfront. The payment plans were linked to the names and accounts of the people whose identities Whitlow had stolen. He repeated this scheme multiple times with multiple providers, only ever paying sales tax for the phones.”

The case against Whitlow was handled by the Department of Attorney General’s newly established Organized Retail Crime Unit, operating with Michigan State Police as the Force Team, according to the release.

“Mr. Whitlow’s actions have caused long-term harm to his many victims who now must work to repair their stolen identities,” Nessel stated via the release. “Organized Retail Crime is a highly involved and orchestrated criminal enterprise that costs Michigan businesses and consumers millions of dollars each year. I’m grateful for the hard work and collaboration between our newly formed Organized Retail Crime Unit, and the Michigan State Police which helped bring this thief to justice.”

Residents can visit and search for “Michigan Identity Theft Support” to learn how to report identity theft and request identity theft assistance, as well as what to do if their identity is stolen.

An attorney for Whitlow could not be reached for comment by press time.