Couple Sentenced in Florida Disaster Fraud Case

August 31, 2012

A South Florida couple has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to defrauding a federal agricultural disaster program.

A Miami judge on Wednesday sentenced 49-year-old Sergio Perez and 28-year-old Yaima Perez to more than four years in prison each. They were also ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Court records show the couple used false identities to file numerous claims under agriculture loss programs created following hurricanes in 2005. They claimed losses for fictitious plant nurseries in the Homestead area of South Florida because of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.

The couple had earlier pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

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