Once everybody — including Frantz Felisma himself — settled on the guilt of the former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy as far as access device fraud and identity theft, the only question Tuesday was federal prison time.
Felisma’s attorney’s argued for somewhere around three years. Prosecutors wanted three to four years.
U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks went for five years with $175,000 restitution and three years supervised release after the five years.
From January, 2013 to September, 2014, Felisma gathered personal identification information via law enforcement-only databases accessible only to law enforcement and handed it over to identity thief Kesner Joaseus. Joaseus used the information to open bank accounts, credit card accounts and do the things identity thieves do. Joaseus kept Felisma on monthly retainer for his services.
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Once Joaseus got busted by the Justice Department, he flipped like a gymnast on his cop co-conspirator.
Felisma’s March guilty plea would seem to settle the guilt question. But court documents say when the court asked of the stipulated set of facts in the guilty plea, “Did you do these things?” Felisma replied, “Yes, Your Honor, I did. I didn’t know anything about the money.”
Felisma also claimed he didn’t know exactly what Joaseus was doing with the information, but he was engaging in illegal activity.
Before sentencing, Felisma filed for a change of plea on May 18, claiming he was “overwhelmed by his pretrial incarceration and he felt that the evidence needed to corroborate his defense was unattainable at the time.”
Felisma was denied bond after his December arrest when prosecutors brought up a 2011 incident in which an in-uniform Felisma had a personal confrontation with a club DJ and that Felisma’s mother remained in his native Haiti.
Middlebrooks set a July 10 trial date while cautioning that the sentence length mitigation of “acceptance of responsibility” wouldn’t be a factor “should Mr. Felisma again change course.”
Which Mr. Felisma did on June 29.