Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested for His Role in an Identity Theft Scheme
A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested yesterday for his role in an identity theft scheme.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, 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, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, made the announcement.
Frantz Felisma, 42, of Boynton Beach, a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint, which charged him with participating in an identity theft scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft); 1029(a)(2) (Access Device Fraud); 1030(a)(4) (Access of a Protected Computer in Furtherance of a Fraud); and 1029(b)(2) (Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft).
As alleged in the criminal complaint, over the span of approximately 18 months, Deputy Felisma used his police department issued laptop computer to access a law enforcement database in order to obtain personal identification information belonging to numerous individuals. Felisma sold this information to his co-conspirator, who then used the identities of at least 15 of these victims to set up credit card and bank accounts, stealing tens of thousands of dollars in the names of the victims.
Felisma made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman. A pre-trial detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 10 a.m.
If convicted, Felisma faces a mandatory minimum of two years’ imprisonment, to run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed, as to the aggravated identity theft charge; a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment as to the access device fraud charge; and a maximum of five years’ imprisonment as to each of the access of a protected computer in furtherance of a fraud and conspiracy to commit identity theft charges.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, Lantana Police Department, IRS-CI and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Rinku Tribuiani.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. 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.
News Cast for December 23rd:
Details came out Thursday about the arrest of 20 year old Selena Rodriguez of Basswood on aggravated manslaughter of a child charges. Seminole Police allege her infant daughter was left alone in a bath tub and drowned on August 4th. Police say it took 18 minutes to fill the tub to the level of the tub where the mouth was. They allege the mother was using her cell phone exchanging text messages during that time. She was released on 1 hundred thousand dollars bond.
The Florida highway patrol expects heavy traffic for the Christmas holiday. They will be cracking down on drunk and drugged drivers, distracted drivers and drowsy drivers through the holidays. Lt. Greg Bueno says they want people to be safe.
An Okeechobee mother received one year in the county jail for a fatal crash that killed her five year old daughter two years ago today. 33 year old Enedina Magana Ibarra was driving as fast as 91 miles per hour and had a blood alcohol level just over the legal limit in the crash on Hilolo Road that killeld Pauline Gaudalupe Magana. A charge of vehicular homicide was dropped and she pled no contest to driving without a license in an accident involving death.
The Okeechobee Utility Authority Board is interested in state allocations this year for Treasure island sewer projects, help with Pine Ridge Park sewer work, and new sewer lines on South West 24th Avenue. They also could seek grants to fully restore the historic downtown office building.
OUA finance director Basil Coule retires in February.
OUA Executive Director John Hayford received an excellent evaluation from the board.
19 year old Tyler Osceola was charged with felony possession of marijuana and various items of drug paraphernalia including cannavis syrup, after a traffic stop on 441 in Martin County.
Sports Cast for December 23rd:
Okeechobee Head Football Coach Chris Branham coached the Treasure Coast All-Stars to a 22 point victory, 30 to 8 over Brevard County All-Stars in the annual senior game this month.
No Okeechobee players participated in the game.
Long snapper Eli McMullen will represent Okeechobee in the Georgia Florida high school all-star game next week.
Wrestler Kallen Pinerio is among the Brahmans with a good chance to make it to regional and even state this year. He bulked up and has been wrestling at 1 hundred and 52 pounds early in the year. Pinerio says he dedicated himself to the sport all year long. He was one match away from state last year.
Pahokee Head Coach Orson Walkes was named Coach of the Year for Class 1A schools in Florida this week. He led the Blue Devils to a 14-0 record and a state championship this year.
Moore Haven boys basketball will play East Lee County at the Palmetto Ridge tournament at 3:30 this afternoon. The Terriers lost 72-55 to Palmetto Ridge last night. Marquis Fudge led the way with 14 points.
News Cast for December 22nd:
Andrew Wheeler did not get a new lease on life apparently after he won his appeal and got out of jail after three years for a savage beating caught on facebook. Wheeler was serving 30 years in prison for aggravated child abuse of an autistic teen but was released last month from prison. Tuesday he was back in jail on grand theft auto and resisting arrest charges.
Okeechobee deputies claim he stole a car at the Taylor Creek RV Park, and drove to the Viking property near North West 2 hundred and 78th Street. Also charged was 21 year old Ethan King. He allegedly possessed 10 grams of methamphetamines. A sheriffs K-9 subdued King in the woods.
Arrests include 48 year old Kelly Fair in Glades County. The Okeechobee woman had a blood alcohol level of point 38 after an accident last week where she allegedly struck a parked RV and another truck at 2199 Hunter Road. She was treated at Hendry Regional.
13 people arrested in a drug roundup Monday. Methamphetamine, Marijuana, cocaine and pills were allegedly sold in the three month undercover operation in Okeechobee.
Among those facing felony charges are 24 year old James Hatfield, 48 year old Teresa Holloman, 32 year old Randale Wilkinson, 35 year old Tony Harlow, 37 year old Damon Cook, 29 year old Terry McQueen Junior, 61 year old Leonard Alexander, 54 year old Lougene Mack, 50 year old Jose Luis Hernandez Dominquez, 52 year old Mark Harrell, 28 year old Aaron Locklear and 48 year old Derrick Hollis.
Okeechobee City planners approved plans for an outdoor sales and storage business at 701 North Parrott Avenue. They recommended the 8 tenths of an acre lot be rezoned from industrial to heavy commercial.
Sports Cast for December 22nd:
Mark Ward of Okeechobee was recently named the pitching coach for South Florida State College in Avon Park. He moved on from Indian River State College after Mitch Markham resigned last spring. He’ll be working with the pitchers primarily but also coach in other areas. Ward says the new Indian River coach wanted more time commitments than he could give to the job
Ward says he is excited about the opportunity. Coach Rick Hitt has been in charge there for 18 years and is well respected.
Ward says the way pitchers are handled have changed a lot in recent years.
Kevin Coleman of Okeechobee is on the roster at the school
On the sports schedule today, Moore Haven boys basketball takes part in a holiday tournament at Palmetto Ridge against the host, tonight at 8 pm and Friday afternoon against East Lee County. They are 6-3 on the season.
Rooney to Weather Channel – Lake Okeechobee Isn’t Toxic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) sent a letter to The Weather Channel, Inc. CEO Mr. Cameron Clayton yesterday in regards to the Weather Channel’s recently-released article and documentary “Toxic Lake.”
“While I’m pleased that the Weather Channel is drawing more attention to the struggles surrounding the Lake, I strongly disagree with their one-sided reporting on this complicated and years-long issue,” Rooney said. “Lake Okeechobee has been at the center of environmental struggles for all of south Florida, and while we have made great progress at both the state and federal level to restore the Everglades, more needs to be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to build upon the increased visibility the Weather Channel has brought to this issue, and I hope that we can all work toward a positive solution for everyone.”
Here you can read the full text of the letter
News Cast for December 21st:
City cops have arrested a suspect for two armed robberies, one at Chico’s Burrito Shack, and the other at 5th Street Pharmacy in recent days. 22 year old Schulyer Smith of Pennsylvania will face robbery and other charges. Robbery victims from the pharmacy chased after Smith and detained him at a local motel. City police say Smith had just walked away from a local drug rehab program.
10 Okeechobee residents now face 22 felony charges in a local narcotics round up this week. Undercover officers posed as drug buyers over a three month period. More details are likely today.
The city of Okeechobee honored Mayor Jim Kirk for 25 years as Mayor as he conducted his last meeting this month. He was first elected in 1988. They also honored 20 year veteran of the police department Lt. Donald Hagan, and purchased a new pumper fire truck on a state bid for 4 hundred and 12 thousand dollars.
The council also voted to join the Lake Okeechobee compact of cities, some 1 hundred and 64 cities will work together on plans to help alleviate economic and environmental impacts from releases from Lake Okeechobee. They also voted to oppose support a state initiative to purchase more land for storage south of Lake Okeechobee.
Sheriff deputies interrupt burglaries in progress Monday at Store-N-Lock and make two arrests, 28 year old Ronald Palmer is charged with burglary and possession of burglars tools while Erich Mashmeirer faces attempted burglar and possession of burglars tools.
33 year old Billy Garmany of Kissimmee is charged with resisting arrest after he allegedly tried to break into a vehicle in the 5 hundred block of North West 9th Avenue Monday ngiht. He was bitten by a K-9 unit after a search in heavy brush near South East 15th Avenue and 2nd Street.
Trayvon Jackson pled no contest to second degree murder charges and received 25 years in prison. He confessed to shooting 18 year old Dylan McKelvey and dumping his body in a field in Indiantown back in March of 2 thousand 14.
Sports Cast for December 21st:
The Yearling Lady Bulls basketball team entered the break on a two game losing streak after a tough 25-19 loss at home to West Glades.
Jenna Morrisey had 14 points, 12 rebounds and six steals to lead West Glades.
Coach Kimber Smith says her team came to play and executed
Point guard Dylan Walker provided five steals and four points. She said her teammates needed this win.
Jasmine Shanks had seven points, six steals and three rebounds, and Adryauna Baker added seven points and nine steals. Corneisha Wingfield pulled down 10 rebounds for Yearling.
Moore Haven middle school basketball visits LaBelle with girls at 6 pm and boys at 7:30 pm tonight.
DHSMV WARNS OF TRAFFIC CITATION SCAM
~ Consumers targeted for payment of fraudulent citations ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is warning consumers that they may be targeted by a company representing itself as the DHSMV demanding payment for fraudulent citations. The company, which is not associated with the DHSMV in any way, will send emails to consumers requesting payment of a citation within a certain timeframe and if the payment is not received on time, the company will falsely require a daily late fee payment.
The email sent to consumers includes a linked payment page and email address. While the linked payment page appears to be inactive at this time, the DHSMV is warning consumers that this is a scam and no payment should be made. If a consumer has made a payment, they should refute the charge and take the appropriate security measures with their financial institution.
Consumers should note the following:
- The DHSMV and Clerks of Court do not email citations to customers;
- The DHSMV and Clerks of Court do not require citation payment via email;
- Citation numbers are always seven alpha-numeric digits;
If a consumer receives a notice regarding a suspicious citation, they should contact the local Clerk of Court or call the DHSMV immediately.
News Cast for December 20th:
Physical evidence at the crime scene, in a vehicle he had access and a photo of him on the victims’ cell phone were key links between Shows and the crime. Sheriffs Elect Noel Stephen presented the case to the media Monday. He said Shows wanted to have sex with the victim, she refused, he got a 22 rifle out of his truck, chased after her and shot her in the back of the head. Stephen says Shows had only two previous misdemeanor arrests on his record. Charges include first degree murder, burglary with an assault, tampering with evidence, abuse to a dead body and grand theft.
Full video of press conference with Noel Stephen’s is on our Facebook page.
No details released yet in the arrest of 20 year old Selena Rodriguez for aggravated manslaughter of a child at the Seminole Indian Reservation. The Okeechobee woman was held on 1 hundred thousand dollars bond after turning herself in on the warrant charge on Friday.
38 year old Cheryl Fish of Brighton was charged with child abuse, drug possession and resisting arrest after a high speed chase that reached speeds of over 1 hundred miles per hour on Saturday night. The driver of the car fled on foot. In the vicinity of South West 87th Avenue and 2nd Street.
Sports Cast for December 20th:
Stephen Thornton had 11 points , 10 rebounds and five blocks as Yearling defeated West Glades 26-19 in middle school boys basketball. Jorge Arias had five points, three steals and four assists for Yearling.
Thornton picked it up in the second half and said he played well when it counted.
Point guard Chris Lopez hit a key three points and also had five steals in the game. He said West Glades didn’t give up and neither did Yearling
Jason Branch led West Glades with eight points, five rebounds and four steals.
There are no sports events through the holidays at Okeechobee High School.
MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED
CHRISTOPHER WILLIAM SHOWS
DOB: 11/10/95; W/M
17919 Hwy. 441 North, Okeechobee, FL
On Wednesday 12/07/2016 @ 1517 hours, Deputy Jolly responded to the Town Star store (2398 Hwy 70 W.) reference to a distraught woman who called 911 from that location. On the deputy’s arrival, he spoke with Jessica Seger. Ms. Seger advised that she went to her nearby sister’s house and found her lying in a pool of blood. Deputy Jolly did take the complainant in his patrol vehicle to the victim residence at 2748 NW 3rd Street, Okeechobee. There, was found the victim’s dog, who, was being aggressive and protecting the residence from intruders. After some time, the dog was secured, Deputy Jolly was able to enter and determine that there was a deceased female lying in a puddle of blood in the kitchen of that residence. From viewing the blood at the scene it was clear that the body of the victim was dragged down the hallway and left in the kitchen. Being that it was obvious foul play, the Deputy requested assistance from the detective bureau.
Detective Javier Gonzalez, Detective Ted Van Deman and Detectives of Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) assumed the case. It was determined that the deceased female, Amanda Gayle Suarez, age 25 was shot, in the back of the head, behind the ear with a .22 rifle. The suspect went to the victim’s house and knocked on the door. The victim knew the suspect and opened the door allowing him to come inside. After some time the suspect made sexual advances to the victim. These advances were rebuffed. He left the home and retrieved a firearm from his truck and went back inside. He chased Ms. Suarez through the house and then shot her as she attempted to run out the back door. He altered the crime scene by removing the victim from one location to another in the home. At the time of the attack she was in the hallway near the master bedroom and the back door. From blood evidence it was determined that her body was dragged down the hallway into the kitchen. The victim had her pants and underwear removed and her shirt was pulled up exposing her bra. The body was lying in the center of the kitchen floor and was put in a crucifix position while surrounded by pooled blood. He had sexual intercourse with the body of the victim. It is impossible to determine if the victim was still alive at the time. He then stole the victim’s phone which was worth in excess of $100. He fled the scene where he endeavored to cover his crime by disposing of the victim’s phone and burning his clothes.
After investigating for ten days, 24 hours a day, Christopher William Shows was arrested for:
First Degree Premeditated Murder, FSS 782.04 (1a) a Capital Felony
Armed Burglary of an Occupied Residence with a Battery, FSS. 810.02 (2a)
and 810.02 (2b) a first degree felony
Desecration of a Body, FSS.872.06(2) a felony of the second degree
Attempted Sexual Battery, FSS.794.011 (2a)/777.04 a felony of the third
Grand Theft from a Residence (Phone), FSS.812.014(2d) a felony of the
Tampering with Evidence FSS.918.13(1a) a felony of the third degree
Michele Bell, PIO
News Cast for December 19th:
The Okeechobee school board will try a two pronged approach to replacing Okeechobee High School. The already hired a lobbyist David Bell to try and get money out of the legislature, approximately 60 million dollars. They are now advertising for an architect who will agree to design the new buildings without pay unless the school board gets state funding. School Board member Jill Holcomb says the board members will also take a role in the effort
Okeechobee unemployment dipped from 5.7 to 5.6 percent in November. 967 residents collected benefits. Glades County dipped from 6.7 to 6.4 percent with 3 hundred residents collecting benefits. Okeechobee was tied with Taylor County for 19th highest among Florida counties. Glades County was fifth highest. Around the Big Lake, Hendry county had 9.1 percent, Martin had 4.9 percent and Palm Beach 4.9 percent.
City police charged a Stafford Arizona man last week, 27 year old Dustin Youngblood with sending and receiving pornographic images with an underage Okeechobee girl. Youngblood was charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition over a computer and the use of a child in a sexual performance.
Sports Cast for December 19th:
Palm Bay Heritage rallied from a 10 point deficit in the second half to defeat Okeechobee, 64-57 on Friday night. Shaquoy Ferrol led Okeechobee with 18 points while Demetrius Clark added 14 points. Jared Mowry led the Panthers with 16 points.
Heritage Coach Stephen Link says his team didn’t’ get off to a great start but picked it up in the second half. The Brahmans are now 8-3 on the season.
Lady Brahman soccer wins at Sebring Friday 3-2. Ashton English had all three goals off assists from Janel Aponte, Alani Garcia and Ashley Snyder.
OHS boys soccer lost at home to Jensen Beach 2-0.
On the sports schedule today Pemayetv Emahakv basketball travels to Moore Haven Middle School with girls at 3 pm and boys to follow.
News Cast for December 16th:
Good Samaritans came to the aid of an Okeechobee man who suffered a heart attack which caused a minor traffic crash on route 70 west near Highlands County Wednesday. Sheriff deputies say a nurse was in cars nearby and stopped at the scene to provide CPR to the man. He was taken to Raulerson hospital and later flown to St. Mary’s in West Palm Beach.
- 33 year old Preston Guinn of Okeechobee was held on a fugitive warrant out of Texas for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Bond was 10 thousand dollars.
- 32 year old Joshua Roach was charged with multiple counts of uttering forged checks and grand theft. He was held on 40 thousand dollars bond.
- 50 year old Sarah Brown was charged with battering an 87 year old woman during an argument at a Lorida residence. She was arrested by Highlands County deputies on a felony charge.
Single vehicle accident in Glades County leaves two people, including a baby in critical condition. The Florida highway patrol says 30 year old Shane Slocum was north bound on route 721 Thursday afternoon at 3 pm when he failed to maintain control of a Toyota Camry sedan, near Bullhead Grade, the vehicle went off the road and struck a tree. Slocum and one year old Samuel Slocum were not wearing seat belts or child restraints. They were flown to St. Mary’s in critical condition. Slocum was cited for careless driving.
Okeechobee Commissioners honored some veterans with quilts from the Daughters of the American Revolution and discussed ways to get Amendment One dollars to help connect septic tanks to the Okeechobee utility authority.
Sports Cast for December 16th:
Shaela French and Elle Thomas both had 10 points to lead Pemayetv Emahakv to a 35-14 victory in middle school basketball against Osceola this week. Anya Koivunen had six points to lead Osceola. Osceola Coach Eric Phillips says his team got a lot of good shots but again couldn’t connect.
Seminoles point guard Cadie Huff dealt out three assists in the game. She said it was an important win for her unbeaten team.
In girls soccer Forest Hill defeats Okeechobee 1-0. Goal keeper Jensy Matute made two big saves for the Falcons including one with less than a minute left. She said saves are where the goal keeper impacts the game.
On the sports schedule, OHS boys soccer hosts Jensen beach tonight, JV at 5 and varsity at 7. Boys basketball hosts Heritage with Jv at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm. OHS girls soccer travels to Sebring with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 and OHS girls basketball visits Eau Gallie, with JV at 5:30 and varsity at 7 pm.
OHS also holds a JV wrestling tournament Saturday.