Kesner Joaseus, 47, of Wellington, Florida, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg to a total of 11 years in prison for orchestrating two elaborate fraud schemes.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting 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, and Antonio J. Gomez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, made the announcement.
On July 28, 2016, Joaseus pled guilty in two separate fraud cases that were consolidated for the sentencing hearing. In one case, Joaseus conspired to commit and did in fact commit mail fraud by engaging in a scheme to defraud for the purpose of obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1349 (Case No. 16-80011-CR-Rosenberg). Joaseus was sentenced to 108 months in prison in this case.
According to court documents related to the first case, a legitimate real estate investment trust based in Georgia, RHA 2, LLC, owns dozens of properties in Palm Beach and Broward Counties that it leases out as residential single family homes. This company operates as HavenBrook Homes. From November 2014 through December 2016, defendant Joaseus used the similar company name “RHA Two, LLC,” to illegally take possession of and rent the homes lawfully owned by HavenBrook Homes by assuming the legitimate company’s identity, posting rental signs on the houses, changing the locks and then meeting with unsuspecting prospective tenants.
In addition, Joaseus and his co-defendants entered into bogus leases with a counterfeit “HavenBrook Homes” logo, and collected thousands of dollars in money orders or cash, purportedly for security deposit, first and last month’s rent for the houses. Joaseus collected purported lease payments of over $380,000 from dozens of unsuspecting tenants of houses owned by HavenBrook Homes which the defendants had no right to possess.
In a separate case, Joaseus committed aggravated identity theft and access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A and 1029(a)(2) (Case No. 16-80010-CR-Rosenberg). that case, Joaseus used the personal identifiers, including the date of birth and social security number, of numerous victims to obtain credit cards and then used the credit cards to purchase merchandise and withdraw cash at various locations in Palm Beach County and elsewhere. The merchandise included two Mercedes-Benz automobiles, with total losses of over $260,000. Joaseus was sentenced to 108 months in prison for access device fraud, in addition to a two year consecutive prison sentence on the aggravated identity theft charge. The 108-month sentences in the two cases will be served concurrently, and the two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft will be consecutive, for a total sentence of 132 months (11 years) in prison.
In a related case, defendant Frantz Felisma pled guilty to aggravated identity theft and access device fraud for providing Joaseus with the personally identifiable information that was used to commit the identity theft fraud scheme (Case No. 17-80008-CR-Middlebrooks). Felisma served as a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy and obtained the personal information from his police department issued computer.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the ICE-HSI, Lantana Police Department and USPIS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Rinku Tribuiani in the West Palm Beach U. S. Attorney’s Office.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.