Daphne Felisma, wife of accused Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Frantz Felisma, collapsed outside a federal courtroom in West Palm Beach Thursday after a judge denied bond for her husband.
Paramedics took her to the hospital after she fainted. Her husband, who faces identity theft charges, should remain behind bars because of the serious nature of the offense and, with family in Haiti, he is a flight risk, U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins said at the conclusion of a roughly two-hour hearing.
“I can’t imagine a much more serious offense than this,” Hopkins said. “For a law enforcement officer to be selling his position and selling law enforcement information to a known fraudster is one of the most serious crimes I can possibly imagine.”
Daphne Felisma started sobbing after Hopkins announced his decision. She tried to reach her husband as U.S. marshals led him out of the courtroom. Grabbed by marshals, she was ushered into the hallway where she collapsed. About 50 friends and family members, many crying, were also ordered from the courtroom.
Frantz Felisma, 42, of Boynton Beach, is accused of using law enforcement databases to get personal information about at least 50 people who owned expensive cars and selling the information to Kesner Joaseus, federal prosecutors said. Joaseus, who pleaded guilty to identity theft and other fraud charges in August, reported Felisma’s involvement to police. Joaseus set up credit card and bank accounts over 18 months, stealing an estimated $250,000, prosecutors said.
Joaseus told prosecutors he offered to pay Felisma $10,000 a month for the information but it is unclear how much he was paid or where the money went, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Jorgensen said. Felisma’s bank account showed about $14,000 in unusual transactions from January 2013 until June 2014, she told Hopkins.
“Criminals don’t necessarily deposit money from a criminal enterprise,” she said.
Knowing Joaseus had been convicted of mortgage fraud, Felisma claimed he was investigating his activities. “I’m going to nail him,” his attorney Jason Kreiss said he told investigators.
Kreiss said Felisma maintains his innocence and is likely to ask a federal judge to overturn Hopkins’ decision to deny him bond. The appeals process could take more than two weeks.