Federal agents have hauled in 44 people who the government claims participated in a massive identity theft and tax fraud scheme across South Florida. One of them has been in the public eye before – Peter Michael Daniel.
He won millions of dollars in a judgment against the city of Sweetwater and on Friday his parents told NBC 6 Daniel hasn't done anything wrong.
Daniel won a $2 million dollar verdict against the City of Sweetwater. As a 19-year-old a decade ago he claimed police, who thought he had stolen another cop’s jet ski, took him to a cell and beat him so badly he suffered head trauma, a lacerated liver and spleen, and needed emergency surgery.
Now federal agents and prosecutors have charged Daniel, 29, with identity theft. The indictment says he committed device fraud for his unauthorized possession of at least 15 other people’s Social Security numbers.
“There's a lot of allegations. He will have his day in court,” his mother Lourdes Lima said.
Daniel's parents said he was inside their west Miami-Dade home today, but couldn't talk about the allegations. They said their son is completely innocent and believed the information he had was part of a legitimate business.
"He's not in jail. He's not in jail. He’s OK, he's fine and he will be fine,” his stepfather Juan Lima said. “As soon as we get everything straightened out he will be fine.”
The parents also said anything Daniel had was given to him by someone close to them they trusted.
Daniel told the magistrate judge at his bond hearing that he was out of funds and a public defender was initially assigned to him.
His mother called NBC 6 after a crew left their home to say that separate charges the county brought against him were dropped last year and they ultimately expect the same in federal court.
The U.S. attorney's office said that the ID theft and tax fraud ring was widespread and did significant damage.
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