Feb. 07--Thre South Florida men have been sentenced for their roles in a $2.2 million identity theft and tax refund fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said.
Frantz Pierre, 34, of Parkland, Terry Pierre, 29, and Christmanie Bissainthe, 33, both of Miami, were convicted by a federal jury Oct. 24 and sentenced Thursday, prosecutors said.
Frantz Pierre was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, Terry Pierre got 10 years and Bissainthe got seven years. All received three years of probation as well. A restitution hearing is scheduled for April, court records show.
A thousand prepaid debit cards were sent to Frantz Pierre's business, Tax Professors, in May 2010. He and his co-conspirators filed approximately 338 fraudulent income tax returns using the stolen identities of inmates, according to trial evidence.
They sought $2.2 million in refunds from the IRS for payment onto the Tax Professors' debit cards. The IRS paid approximately $1.9 million in refunds, trial evidence showed.
Video evidence also showed the trio making withdrawals from the debit cards.
Agents testified that during a July 2012 raid on Frantz Pierre's seven-bedroom home in Parkland, they witnessed someone tossing laptop computers from the second floor toward the swimming pool.
Law enforcement found more than 70 prepaid debit cards and a thumb drive with more than 2,000 names, birthdates, Social Security numbers and IRS personal identification numbers in Frantz Pierre's bedside dresser, agents said.
Investigators also discovered the home had been bought with fraudulent tax refund proceeds, prosecutors said.
(c)2014 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services