Four People Charged in Stolen Identity Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme Targeting Banks and COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Funds
A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested yesterday for his role in an identity theft scheme.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Sean Scheller, Chief, Town of Lantana Police Department, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, made the announcement.
Frantz Felisma, 42, of Boynton Beach, a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint, which charged him with participating in an identity theft scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft); 1029(a)(2) (Access Device Fraud); 1030(a)(4) (Access of a Protected Computer in Furtherance of a Fraud); and 1029(b)(2) (Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft).
As alleged in the criminal complaint, over the span of approximately 18 months, Deputy Felisma used his police department issued laptop computer to access a law enforcement database in order to obtain personal identification information belonging to numerous individuals. Felisma sold this information to his co-conspirator, who then used the identities of at least 15 of these victims to set up credit card and bank accounts, stealing tens of thousands of dollars in the names of the victims.
Felisma made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman. A pre-trial detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 10 a.m.
If convicted, Felisma faces a mandatory minimum of two years’ imprisonment, to run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed, as to the aggravated identity theft charge; a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment as to the access device fraud charge; and a maximum of five years’ imprisonment as to each of the access of a protected computer in furtherance of a fraud and conspiracy to commit identity theft charges.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, Lantana Police Department, IRS-CI and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Rinku Tribuiani.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.