MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Farkhanda Muhammad, 34, Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to six months in federal prison for fraudulently representing that a Social Security number was hers to apply for a Madison apartment. Muhammad pled guilty to this charge on July 14, 2020.
During the sentencing hearing, the parties and Court discussed Muhammad’s broader scheme to rent apartments—in Madison and elsewhere—for people using false Social Security numbers and identities. In particular, the government and Court noted that, out of the six Madison apartments that Muhammad rented using false names and Social Security numbers, four were for Martell Norris. Norris was a kilogram-level cocaine dealer that Judge Peterson sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on January 23, 2020. Judge Peterson found that, although Muhammad was not directly implicated in Norris’s drug sales, she “turned a blind eye” to how Norris used the apartments to sustain his cocaine distribution network. In addition to the six-month prison term, the Court directed Muhammad to pay $17,945 to the apartment building owners.
The charge against Muhammad was the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, the Social Security Administration, and the Chicago Police Department. First Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea prosecuted the case.