01/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/14/2021 09:55
Orlando, Florida - U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced Jermica Jerri Dominick Brooks (37, Orlando) a/k/a 'Jermica Jerri Dominick Sykes' to six years and nine months in federal prison for two separate wire fraud schemes and aggravated identity theft. The court also ordered Brooks to forfeit more than $25,000, which is traceable to benefits she had received as a result of the offenses.
Brooks had pleaded guilty on November 12, 2020.
According to court documents, following Hurricane Irma in 2017, Brooks used stolen identities to file five applications for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Brooks had obtained the personally identifiable information of certain victims during the course of her employment at a local plumbing business, where she worked as an office manager in or about 2016. Brooks obtained other stolen identities by purchasing the information through illicit channels. At sentencing, a victim informed the Court that she was unable to obtain FEMA assistance following Hurricane Irma because Brooks had already filed a fraudulent application in her name.
In a separate scheme, from January through May 2018, Brooks applied for and obtained 10 apartment leases in the names of identity theft victims. She used unauthorized or nonexistent financial account information to make it appear that her application and initial rent payments were legitimate, and feigned personal emergencies to secure occupancy in the leased apartments before those electronic payments were returned or rejected. Those leases resulted in a series of evictions in the names of Brooks's victims. According to victims' statements provided to the Court at sentencing, Brooks's repeated use of their identities resulted in significant hardships surrounding their efforts to secure credit, housing, and car loans.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Office of the Inspector General, the Orlando Police Department, the Casselberry Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily C. L. Chang.