Junior Jean Baptiste operated Surveillance Masters North Miami check cashing store from 2009-11. The U.S. government had no problem with that.
The more than 2,000 fraudulent tax refund checks worth over $11 million that Jean Baptiste cashed? Problem.
After the successful prosecution of Jean Baptiste, U.S. District Court for the Southern District Judge Jose Martinez agreed to a 17-year sentence for Jean Baptiste last week.
A jury found the 36-year-old guilty on all counts: 13 counts of theft of government money; nine counts of aggravated identity theft; two counts of possession of false identification documents with unlawful intent; two counts of money laundering; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Jean Baptiste is appealing the verdict.
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Jean Baptiste’s cohorts filed fraudulent tax returns using names of the dead and “other people who usually don’t file tax returns,” according to the U.S. Justice Department. After cashing the checks and taking a 25 to 50 percent cut, Jean Baptiste created fake identification papers to cover his crime — over 900 fake driver’s licenses, work permits and green cards.
Prosecutors said during trial Jean Baptiste turned his ill-gotten gains into cars, a cargo ship and rights to a hip-hop album.