Georgia Inmate Somehow Steals $11 Million From Elderly Billionaire While Serving Time in Supermax: Now, He’ll Serve 11 More Years
Using contraband phones inside his single-man cell, Arthur Lee Cofield Jr. somehow managed to pose as Sidney Kimmel – a fashion mogul and movie producer whose credits include ‘The Kite Runner’ – who has a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Arthur Lee Cofield Jr. is not your average criminal. In fact, he’s believed to have executed the largest theft ever undertaken from inside a state prison – a crime which he’s paying for now.
“If you had put the intelligence you have to legal and positive things, you would have been very successful in life.”
That was the harsh truth U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones shared with Cofield during his sentencing. After stealing $11 million from billionaire Sidney Kimmel, $1.2 million from a person in Alabama, and $391,000 from a bank, Cofield was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison as of Friday. He’s also been ordered to pay more than $12.5 million in restitution.
Stealing that amount of money from inside Georgia’s toughest prison is an incredible, if illegal, feat.
The Georgia Department of Corrections had knowledge of Cofield’s financial crimes as early as 2018, but he wasn’t charged until 2020 after a contraband cell phone was seized from his quarters inside the Georgia Department of Corrections’ highly restrictive Special Management Unit. The phone revealed evidence of his $11 million theft and showed that he had, at one point, stored $31 million in a bank account.
Using contraband phones inside his single-man cell, Cofield somehow managed to pose as Mr. Kimmel — a fashion mogul and movie producer whose credits include “The Kite Runner” and has a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes – and present the billionaire’s license photo and a copy of his Los Angeles water bill in order to access Mr. Kimmel’s Charles Schwab account.
From there, Cofield bought more than 6,000 gold coins that were then flown to Atlanta from Idaho and used to purchase a $4 million mansion at Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead district. He had two accomplices on the outside who have already pleaded guilty in the case. Cofield was also named as the sole defendant in a federal criminal case in Alabama last year after carrying out similar thefts from online accounts between January 2018 and February 2019.
Yet Cofield’s financial offenses are not the only crimes under his belt. He first entered the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2008 when he was just 16 years old, after using a handgun to steal $2,600 from a bank and receiving a 14-year sentence. Once inside, he managed to commit his more sophisticated financial crimes, gaining power among his fellow inmates.
His notoriety allowed him to become the leader of the prison crew Young and Paid, or YAP. Cofield, who became known as YAP Lavish, even allegedly ordered the 2018 shooting, in a mall parking lot, of an Atlanta man he believed was involved with his girlfriend, “YAP Missus.” The victim survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the waist down.
According to prosecutors, the shooters were two ex-cons who were part of YAP. YAP Missus had developed a relationship with Cofield over the phone, and he was putting her up in an expensive Buckhead apartment.
Cofield has since pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the shooting, but everyone else charged in relation to the case pleaded guilty and received lengthy prison sentences as a result. He has been in federal custody since his GDC sentence for armed robbery ended in October 2021, and he won’t be getting out any time soon.