Three Miami men were sentenced to long prison terms Thursday in a $1.7 million ID theft-tax refund scheme. One of the defendants has been charged separately with a triple murder in Broward County.
Lineten Belizaire, 22, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in March, was sentenced to about 11 years in prison.
Belizaire faces trial in state court for the 2012 Lauderdale Lakes murders of Octavia Barnett, 21; Barnett’s roommate, Natasha Plummer, 25; and Plummer’s 6-month-old son, Carlton Stringer Jr.
Belizaire was charged with the federal crimes while out on bond in the murder case, which was granted after a state grand jury indicted him on three second-degree murder counts.
Two of his co-conspirators in the federal case, brothers Earnest Baldwin, 36, and Earl Baldwin, 42, were sentenced Thursday to 14 years and seven years, respectively, by U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga.
In April, a jury convicted the brothers of stealing the identities of more than 1,000 people, by obtaining the report cards of Miami-Dade high school students and a local agency’s records of disabled persons, among other sources. Earnest Baldwin also possessed about 40 pre-paid debit cards loaded with tax refunds in some of the victims’ names.
Also in April, another co-defendant, Marckell Steward, 21, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty for his role in the ring.
According to court documents, Belizaire exchanged text messages with Steward, sending and receiving stolen IDs and debit-card account numbers used for collecting tax refunds.
Belizaire filed more than 80 fraudulent tax returns from his computer, and was caught on ATM video cameras withdrawing money from debit cards loaded with IRS refunds.