Agents follow Detroit man’s Instagram to bust him for guns, drugs, unemployment fraud, identity theft

Javion Otis facing charges linked to firearms, drugs, fraud, identity theft

Javion Otis is facing gun- and drug-related charges. (United States District Court)

DETROIT – Federal agents monitored a Detroit man’s Instagram account while he posted pictures of guns and drugs he wasn’t allowed to be around, claimed to be driving while high, threatened police, and tried to recruit others for an obvious unemployment fraud and identity theft scheme, according to authorities.

Previous gun-related incidents

In November 2020, the Detroit Police Department’s Ninth Precinct Ceasefire Unit contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and named Javion Otis as a person of interest connected to gun violence in the precinct.

Otis is either 20 or 21 years old, court records show.

Detroit police said in July 2020, they identified two National Integrated Ballistics Information Network lead firearms that were recovered during a search warrant at Otis’ home on Rossiter Street in Detroit.

During a separate incident on July 17, 2020, Otis was arrested for firing a gun within city limits, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday (May 12, 2022). He pleaded guilty to multiple counts of carrying a concealed weapon on July 16, 2021, and was sentenced to two years of probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, the complaint says.

A special condition of his probation was that, “You must not own, use, or have under your control or area of control a weapon of any type or any imitation of a weapon. You must not be in the company of anyone you know to possess these items,” according to records.

Officials told ATF agents that on Sept. 2, 2020, Otis had been observed with an L-shaped bulge believed to be a firearm in his pocket. When officers approached, Otis fled, they said.

Police detained Otis and the bulge was gone, according to authorities. A K-9 unit tracked his route and recovered a loaded Glock 17 9 mm pistol, court records show.

Otis was arrested for a weapons violation, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced, officials said.

Monitoring Instagram profile

In November 2020, ATF agents reviewed Otis’ Instagram profile, which was identified as user “hawaii.jj,” according to authorities. They compared some of the images to his Michigan driver’s license photo to confirm his identity, they said.

In one of the images, he appeared to have a firearm tucked into his waistband while he smoked marijuana, the criminal complaint says.

Instagram and driver's license photos used by authorities to connect Javion Otis to an Instagram account. (United States District Court)

Agents said they monitored the Instagram account from November 2020 to March 2022. During this time, Otis displayed and referenced his use of controlled substances, including suspected Percocet and Oxycontin, they said.

Otis also claimed to be driving a vehicle while under the influence, possessed a variety of guns, offered opportunities to make money through fraud, and suggested he would use guns in a violent manner to target authorities, according to the criminal complaint.

On May 24, 2021, Otis posted a story at 11:45 a.m. with a message saying he was going to start shooting people for possessing guns and asking why they would hold a firearm if they weren’t going to use it, officials said.

“I’m finna start shooting n----- just for holding they gun (two emojis), cuz why (the f---) y’all be holding y’all s--- (if) y’all ain’t busting (emoji). Tired of (you) clowns,” the text on the story said, according to the complaint.

A video was posted to the Instagram account on May 31, 2021, that showed Otis with a small baggie, officials said. The baggie had one round, white pharmaceutical pill with “10″ imprinted on it, as well as a green leafy substance, inside, court records show.

On top of the image was a message that read, “All this f------ heat I’ma fire bender,” the complaint shows.

In the background of the photo, a suspected Glock pistol with a clear extended magazine is on the floor, according to authorities.

An Instagram video posted by Javion Otis on May 31, 2021. (United States District Court)

A message was posted to the account’s story at noon June 12, 2021, with the following message: “These h--- wanna be petty so now I gotta smack b------ (and) shoot a ppl,” officials said.

On Aug. 19, 2021, Otis posted a series of images to his Instagram story, claiming he was high while driving a vehicle and showing two pills, according to authorities.

Agents believe the oval pill with “U17″ imprinted on it is a 325 mg/10 mg Acetaminophen and Oxycodone Hydrochloride -- a schedule two controlled substance.

Images posted to Javion Otis' Instagram story on Aug. 19, 2021. (United States District Court)

Between Oct. 16-17, 2021, Otis posted a series of messages on Instagram that claimed Oct. 16, 2021, was his first day in a long time without consuming Percocet or Oxycodone, according to the criminal complaint.

“First day without a perk in so long (emoji) bro I’m f------ dying literally (emoji) (and) I pop big boy pills (this) s--- is torture (three emojis),” was posted on his story, per the complaint.

Otis said he was in pain and would continue to be in pain until he consumed more “perkys,” officials said.

“Day 2 no perks way (worse than) yesterday,” he is accused of posting.

Six pills were shown in an image on the account, authorities said. Two had the imprint of “10 325″ and “RP,” which identifies them as Acetaminophen and Oxycodone Hydrochloride 325 mg/10 mg, court records show.

An image posted on Javion Otis' Instagram account in October 2021. (United States District Court)

On Oct. 20, 2021, Otis broadcasted live from the account at 11:50 a.m., officials said. He was brandishing a Glock 41 .45-caliber pistol, according to authorities.

Otis was standing in a bathroom during the broadcast, and seconds later, another Glock handgun was displayed on the bathroom sink, court records say.

Agents said they linked the bathroom to an apartment complex in Inkster.

Two guns shown during an Oct. 20, 2021, Instagram broadcast from Javion Otis' account. (United States District Court)

ATF records revealed that the Glock 41 shown in Otis’ broadcast, along with a Glock 17 9 mm pistol, had been purchased by his girlfriend from the Federal Firearm Licensee Vandalia Tactical Supply in Montgomery County, Ohio, according to the criminal complaint.

During the investigation, a special agent reviewed text messages between Otis and his girlfriend that appeared to reveal him instructing her on which guns to buy, court records show.

Otis posted a picture of four round pills Oct. 21, 2021, with the message, “Dead man hand,” authorities said. The pills were imprinted with “K” and “9,” which appears to identify them as Oxycodone Hydrochloride -- a schedule two controlled substance, officials said.

A picture posted Oct. 21, 2022, on Javion Otis' Instagram account. (United States District Court)

Otis started a live Instagram broadcast around 2:35 p.m. Oct. 31, 2021, while he was driving a vehicle at 109 mph, based on the speedometer, the criminal complaint says.

Search warrant

AFT officials executed a federal search warrant at the Inkster apartment building on Nov. 29, 2021, they said. Otis and his girlfriend were both there at the time, according to authorities.

Otis was seen leaving the master bedroom, where officials said they found the Glock 41 .45-caliber pistol with an inserted empty 40-round drum magazine. They also found the Glock 17 9 mm pistol loaded with one round in the chamber and 12 rounds in an inserted round magazine, court records show.

Agents said they also found ammunition for the pistols scattered throughout the residence.

Firearms found by ATF agents during a Nov. 29, 2021, search of an Inkster residence linked to Javion Otis. (United States District Court)

Otis was interviewed during the search and told officials the two firearms cost about $700 and $600, according to the criminal complaint.

He said his girlfriend wanted the Glock 17 that was purchased in October 2021, authorities said.

Otis said he bought the drum magazine for the Glock, which cost about $20, court records show.

He said the handguns had never been shot, according to officials.

Otis told authorities that he lives with his mother but stays at the Inkster location as much as he can.

The criminal complaint says Otis told agents that he smoked grams of marijuana daily but did not “currently” take Percocet and “oxy.” He told them that he previously took pills like “RP 10″ and that when he consumed pharmaceutical pills, he would “beat my a-- with dem b------,” so he tried to stop 2-3 weeks ago cold turkey, according to the complaint.

Otis admitted he was not prescribed the pills from a doctor, officials said. He explained that during the summer of 2021, when he had money, he would spend about $300 per day on prescription Percocet and oxycodone, court records show.

Otis told authorities that he was under HYTA probation and considered “in trouble” until he completed his two-year probation. He said he knew he couldn’t possess a firearm, but believed they could be in the house while he was there, officials said.

When agents showed Otis the below Instagram picture he had posted of himself holding a Glock 17 9 mm pistol, he said that he had sold it for $1,000 in Detroit to cover rent, according to authorities. He said he advertised the sale on social media and sold it to someone he knew as “NJ.”

An Instagram post showing Javion Otis holding a Glock 17 9 mm handgun. (United States District Court)

An ATF agent said after Otis’ girlfriend purchased the Glock 17 on May 10, 2021, he recorded himself in a bathroom with the gun on May 25. In June 2021, Otis posted a message on Instagram explaining he wanted to sell a Glock for $1,200, the agent said.

The Glock was recovered at a Detroit shooting scene Oct. 3, 2021, after numerous rounds had been fired, authorities said.

Posts about law enforcement

On Jan. 31, a message was posted to Otis’ Instagram account explaining to his followers that authorities were trying to indict him.

“Don’t let them (pig emoji)s forget my name they tryna lock my body up but I ain’t going without a (BANG),” he wrote, according to the complaint.

There was also text on the post that read, “Trying my hardest for da gang they tryna throw indictments at (me) I’m tryna make another 100K,” officials said.

On Feb. 26, Otis posted a message saying, “I’m just pressing every officer that cross my path now I den lost to much and too many n----- to the (pig emoji)s. (broken heart emojis),” court records show.

The post also said, “N----- forgot my guns work just as good (as) there’s,” according to authorities.

Unemployment fraud investigation

Otis has also been linked to an investigation centered around an unemployment insurance fraud ring spanning across multiple states, the criminal complaint alleges. The scheme has resulted in the theft of thousands of federal dollars earmarked for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, officials said.

During the third week of June 2021, agents saw a post on Otis’ Instagram story asking his followers to contact him if they had a PNC Bank or Chime bank account.

“I know from previous reviews of cellular device data and prior investigations this is an indicator that Otis was engaged in fraud,” an agent wrote in the criminal complaint.

At 2:19 p.m. July 5, 2021, Otis posted a picture with a screenshot from California’s EDD Unemployment Claim website, officials said. He said, “Unemployment Insurance benefits issued between 07/02/2021 and 07/05/2021 $20,850″ and labelled the image with a message that said, “Another one for y’all easy 10k tappin,” according to authorities.

He provided a link to California’s unemployment claims website, court records show.

“I know from previous investigations concerning unemployment insurance fraud, that advertising successful transactions is a method to entice people to provide their social security numbers to conduct additional fraud,” the agent wrote in the complaint.

A picture posted on Javion Otis' Instagram account on July 5, 2021. (United States District Court)

Another image was posted at 1:40 p.m. July 12, 2021, explaining that if one of his followers has a photo ID and social security number, Otis would help them get $10,000, authorities said. Otis said he would need to be compensated for his services, court records say.

“Who trynna make (some money) 18+ wit ID and ssn,” Otis is accused of writing. “10k. If you ain’t tryna break a piece of the pie, don’t even slide up I gotta eat too.”

An image was posted to Otis’ Instagram story around 2:45 p.m. Aug. 23, 2021, that showed four California Employment Development Department envelopes, officials said. One of the envelopes showed a partial address that matched Otis’ home on Rossiter Street in Detroit, according to agents.

When officials went to the home for the search warrant, it matched the one seen in the background of the Instagram post, authorities said.

Within an hour, a video was posted to the account showing someone who appears to be Otis retrieving cash from an ATM, according to the criminal complaint. The message on this post said, “18+ tap (the f---) in,” court records show.

Pictures posted on Javion Otis' Instagram account on Aug. 23, 2021. (United States District Court)

Records from a U.S. Department of Labor database show Otis filed an unemployment insurance claim in Michigan on May 20, 2020.

A search of the IP address registered to Otis’ Michigan claim showed that the same IP address was associated with 31 unemployment insurance claims in Michigan, Hawaii, California, Nevada, and West Virginia, according to authorities.

His Rossiter Street address was listed as the account mailing address on at least seven fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, officials said.

At least $113,000 in benefits was paid out under his IP address, the criminal complaint says.

The IP address was registered to a Comcast account in the name of Otis’ mother, court records show.

Officials said Otis’ iPhone had been used to visit California’s unemployment claims website several times. The login information for another person connected to a fraudulent Michigan unemployment account was also found on the phone, authorities said.

Brother arrested during search warrant in Detroit

Officers went to the house on Rossiter Street in Detroit to perform a search warrant on Sept. 13, 2021.

Authorities said they encountered someone at a window, pointing a gun at one of the agents. That firearm was seized, and Otis’ brother, Exvaier Otis, was charged with assaulting a federal officer, according to the criminal complaint. He has since been indicted, authorities said.

Javion Otis wasn’t home at the time of the search, but agents seized evidence of identity theft, unemployment insurance fraud, and mail fraud, court records show.

Agents said they found various California and Arizona unemployment insurance debit cards, unemployment insurance mail in the names of fraud victims from Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and California, as well as various debit cards in the names of people who didn’t live at the Rossiter Street location.

Search of Inkster residence

Officials searched the Inkster residence on Nov. 29, 2021, they said.

Agents said they found various fraudulent California unemployment insurance debit cards and a cellphone belonging to Otis that contained screenshots of fraudulent claims and personal information of identity theft victims.

Otis’ browser history showed dozens of searches related to unemployment insurance claims, according to authorities.

When they spoke to Otis, agents said he confirmed the California credit cards found in the apartment belonged to him. He told them he had filed a fraudulent claim in California because his Michigan claim had been denied, agents said.

Officials said Otis told them that he submitted all his claims to the California Employment Development Department and that he filed a fraudulent claim in the name of someone identified as “NG,” with her permission.

He sent all the unemployment claims to his address on Rossiter Street in Detroit, Otis told agents.

Otis admitted to completing four or five fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in other people’s names, according to authorities. He said his most recent claim was in late September, telling agents it was easy money and “I will take it every day,” the criminal complaint says.

More on fraudulent unemployment claims

On June 15, 2021, a claim for unemployment insurance benefits was filed in Otis’ name in California, officials said.

Otis was arrested by Detroit police on June 16, 2021, for obstruction of justice, authorities said.

California approved the claim around July 2, 2021, and a debit card in Otis’ name was mailed to his home on Rossiter Street in Detroit, the criminal complaint says. Between that date and Aug. 24, 2021, $24,562 was deposited into the debit account in his name, officials said.

ATM surveillance shows Otis made a withdrawal from the account on Aug. 10, 2021, court records say.

The claim in “NG’s” name was made Aug. 14, 2021, in California, according to agents. The address used for the mailing of the debit card was the same Rossiter Street address, officials said.

That claim was approved Aug. 23, and a debit card was mailed two days later, according to authorities. Between Aug. 23 and Sept. 7, $28,350 was deposited into the debit account in “NG’s” name, the complaint says.

The same process was followed to make successful claims for other individuals, court records show. Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 17, $22,500 was deposited into one account, and on Aug. 28, $15,604 was deposited into another, according to officials.

Agents said Otis did not receive permission to file a fraudulent claim in the name of the victim for the account that received $15,604.

Authorities said they recovered evidence linking Otis to each of these fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.

More Instagram posts linked to fraud recruitment

After the Nov. 29, 2021, search in Inkster, agents continued to monitor Otis’ Instagram account. They said between March 15 and March 20, 2022, they saw various posts in which he tried to recruit others to provide information to engage in fraud schemes.

On March 15 and March 16, Otis posted two separate messages asking followers, “Who got they ID tryna make some quick (paper) (30 mins)” and, “18+ plus tryna make sum quick (paper) (30 mins),” according to the criminal complaint.

On March 20, Otis posted, “I’m not finna keep saying s--- y’all see (me). One person at a time tho ima get to everybody (tap in),” court records show.

The criminal complaint says this evidence shows Otis was involved in a “large-scale unemployment fraud and identity theft scheme.”

Charges

In its conclusion, the complaint says there is probable cause to charge Otis with unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, wire fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.