Two Palm Beach County Residents Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft Scheme
Jean Germain, 24, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced to 134 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,129,809. Richekad Jean, 26, of Belle Glade, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $250,234.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.
Defendants Germain and Jean previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1); and one count of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
According to court documents, the defendants used personally identifiable information (PII) of real persons, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, to file false federal income tax returns with the IRS. The defendants opened personal bank accounts and purchased prepaid debit cards to receive the fraudulent federal income tax refunds. The defendants registered the pre-paid debit cards not in their own names, but in the names of the persons whose PII was obtained without authorization, to hide and conceal the conspirators' involvement. After the fraudulent IRS refunds were sent to the bank accounts or to the prepaid debit card accounts, the defendants withdrew the funds at automatic teller machines (ATMs) or used bank debit cards and pre-paid debit cards tied to the different accounts containing the stolen monies. Court documents showed the defendants tried to steal more than $2,000,000 from the United States.
Co-defendants Auberson Paul, 24, of West Palm Beach, and Nigel Simmonds, 25, of Port St. Lucie, were each sentenced to time served.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Carlton.