NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – A North Miami man was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison for cashing fraudulent tax refund checks, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Junior Jean Baptiste, 36, was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, possession of five or more false identification documents, theft of government money and aggravated identity theft.
Baptiste was sentenced to a total of 212 months in federal prison, which will be followed by three years of supervised release.
According to court records, Jean Baptiste operated a check cashing store, called Surveillance Masters, in North Miami from 2009 to 2011.
Prosecutors said he cashed more than $11 million from over 2,000 fraudulent tax refund checks that had been issued in the names of dead people, disabled people and people who do not typically file tax returns.
Evidence presented during his trial showed that Jean Baptiste typically took a fee of half of the value of the checks and made false identification documents for his files.
Prosecutors said he also obtained more than 900 fake driver's licenses, work permits and green cards.
Jean Baptiste used the fraudulent funds to buys numerous luxury items, including a cargo ship, multiple vehicles and the rights to an album of a prominent hip-hop artist.