Miami prisoners impersonated music recording employees, federal prosecutors say

4 charged in scheme involving theft from luxury retail stores in South Florida

MIAMI – Four people are facing a variety of fraud charges for orchestrating a scheme from a Miami federal prison involving theft from luxury retail stores, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indictment released Thursday said two men incarcerated in the downtown Miami Federal Detention Center used fake email addresses under the alias of James Prolima to impersonate employees of Sony Music Entertainment and a music recording company.

Prosecutors said ringleader James Sabatino, 39, then asked luxury store employees and brand representatives to send such items as handbags, watches and jewelry to locations in South Florida. The items were supposedly to be used in music videos and promotional materials.

Instead, the goods were shipped to outside co-conspirators who sold them at pawnshops and elsewhere.

Sabatino, George Duquen, 53, of Davie, Valerie Hunt, 53, of Davie, and Denise Lewis, 35, of North Lauderdale, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Court records show Sabatino has several previous fraud arrests and prison discipline violations.

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.