Miami (June 19, 2014) Ralph Celestin, the leader of an Identity Theft Fraud and Income Tax Fraud Ring with at least 2500 victims has been sent to prison. Personal identity information from some of the victims was used to file fake tax returns. City of North Miami Beach Police Department (NMBPD) investigators, led by Detective Craig Catlin, believe that Celestin led the Money Avenue criminal fraud gang. Upon executing a search warrant, NMBPD found ID and income tax information stored in multiple handwritten ledgers which provided Celestin`s fingerprints prints linking him to the crime.
Ralph Celestin pled guilty to:
1 count of first degree felony ID theft
1 count of felony aggravated white collar crime
16 counts of second degree felony identity theft
36 counts of third degree felony identity theft.
Ralph Celestin was sentenced to a three year minimum mandatory sentence followed by ten years of reporting probation. Upon his initial surrender, he paid $80,000 in restitution that will be paid to the victims of his crimes and the Internal Revenue Service.
Identity theft is not only one of the most frustrating crimes that out citizens have to confront, it is also one of the most frustrating crimes for us as prosecutors, commented Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. This case shows that when investigators do all of the backbreaking case work needed to meet the requirements of our courts, police and prosecutors can get these slick new-wave thieves off of our streets.
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