A former North Miami Beach city commissioner pleaded guilty yesterday to multiple counts of money laundering, grand theft, and bribery, two years after his arrest in a scheme involving taxpayer money, a charity, and a strip club.
Frantz Pierre, who was suspended from the North Miami Beach City Commission in July 2018, will serve two years of house arrest followed by four years of probation, according to a plea agreement obtained by New Times.
Pierre pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of money laundering, one count of bribery, one count of unlawful compensation for official behavior, one count of organized scheme to defraud, and one count of grand theft.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office alleged that Pierre had been accepting bribes from strip club owner Dean Tyler of Dean’s Gold in return for voting in favor of giving the club an extended liquor license.
According to prosecutors, Pierre received $12,500 from Tyler from December 2013 to September 2014. Pierre even asked the strip-club owner for $7,000 after claiming he’d been in a car accident, according to texts Rundle’s office provided.
Prosecutors also alleged that Pierre had been funneling money through a charity owned by a woman named Jacqueline Alexis. As New Times reported in 2018, prosecutors alleged that Alexis wrote checks to Pierre totaling $5,250 after Pierre put taxpayer money into her charity, Community Hope for Families and Children in Need.
Tyler also gave $9,865 to Alexis’ charity — money prosecutors alleged was funneled to Pierre.
Community Hope for Families and Children in Need has since had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS for failing to file financial reports, according to GuideStar, a database of nonprofit organizations.
As part of his plea agreement, Pierre is not allowed to have any contact with Tyler or Alexis. He is also required to pay $2,000 in restitution to the City of North Miami Beach and $5,000 to the State Attorney’s Office for time spent investigating his case. In addition, Pierre must serve 200 hours of community service with an organization that’s not politically affiliated and pay for the monitoring device he must wear during his house arrest.
Pierre, who has been suspended from the city commission for two years, is required to officially resign from the dais, and he’s barred from seeking elected office during his six-year sentence. He is not allowed to reduce his sentence or file any motions to change the conditions.
Reached by New Times, Pierre’s attorney, Benedict Kuehne, said in a statement that the former commissioner is dealing with medical issues after multiple heart attacks and that his decision to plead guilty was a result of his deteriorating health.
“His health continues to decline as he fought against the criminal charges. His decision today to accept responsibility for the criminal charges is intended to allow him to work full time on his medical recovery. While he had intended to contest the case, his decision to accept a probation plea agreement was made after considerable discussion with his family who remain concerned about his declining health in this current COVID-19 environment,” Kuehne wrote.
The courts aren’t entirely done with Pierre, however.
In May of 2018, he was found guilty of an ethics violation by the Miami Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust after he threatened to fire a code-compliance officer if she issued citations at his house. Pierre was fined $1,000, and in April 2019, he was sued by the Commission on Ethics for failure to pay his fine. The case is pending, with the next hearing set for February 2021.
Kuehne, who is also Pierre’s lawyer on the civil case, said Pierre cannot pay the $1,000 fine because he is jobless and broke.
In October 2019, the judge in Pierre’s criminal case granted a motion declaring the former commissioner indigent — meaning he’s unable to afford basic necessities. Kuehne said he wants the judge in the civil case to respect the other judge’s decision and see that Pierre cannot pay the fine.
Asked how Pierre will pay the $7,000 to North Miami Beach and the State Attorney’s Office, Kuehne said his client “will do his best to fully repay the funds recognizing that he has no money presently, no job, and all of his effort today and for the future is to regain his health.”
Nearly naked woman leads police on high-speed chase
A “nearly fully unclothed” 24-year-old Florida woman led Florida Highway Patrol in a southbound pursuit that reached speeds of 110 mph, according to Tampa news station WFLA.
The Interstate 75 chase reportedly spanned several counties before moving onto a state road, where cops used a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver to bring a 2009 Cadillac sedan being driven by Rachael Lynn Stefancich to a stop over the weekend.
“Rachael Lynn Stefancich, 24, of Plant City, nearly fully unclothed, was immediately taken into custody and arrested for grand theft auto, reckless driving, fleeing & eluding, possession of methamphetamine and driving while license suspended,” police said in a statement.
WFLA said the suspect’s rap sheet indicates she’d previously been arrested on petit theft and drug charges. Saturday’s chase reportedly occurred when the highway patrol joined the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office in pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Sumter County.
Woman, 21, slashed multiple times in random Harlem attack
A young woman was slashed multiple times in the back in an unprovoked attack in Harlem, police said.
The assault happened April 25 around 8:10 p.m. at W. 135th St. and Amsterdam Ave., cops said.
The suspect snuck up behind the 21-year-old woman and slashed her three times in the back and shoulder before running off.
She was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside for her wounds. The suspect is still being sought.
Police on Thursday released a surveillance photo of the suspect wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with a bright green design on the front.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Bella Thorne, 23, Gets Flirty Rocking an Unbuttoned Shirt & Short Shorts in New Instagram Video
Bella Thorne mesmerizes fans with her latest Instagram post. She brought out her flirtatious side by rocking an unbuttoned shirt and shorts.
Many Disney watchers are familiar with 23-year-old Bella Thorne, who gained prominence following her Nickelodeon teenage drama appearance on Disney’s “Shake It Up.”
She has since progressed to the big screens. The actress who has a singing talent is also doing big things with her voice. Thorne has expanded her career by showing creativity in her acting and singing business which has been lovingly accepted.
Recently, she thrilled fans online with a raunchy and flirtatious post. It showed her lip-syncing to her new song titled “Shake It.” The singer could be seen rocking a free red and black lined sleeve shirt that rested on her black leather short shorts. The post’s caption read:
“ITS A BANGER…thanks for all the love on SHAKE IT you guys are amazing!!!!”
The video showed that the Hollywood celebrity picked just two outfits from her closet and deliberately rocked the raunchy style. The 23-year-old buttoned only the collar button of the shirt. The rest were left unbuttoned, giving fans a sneak peek of what her bare skin looked like.
She loves helping and giving to the less privileged. The singer donates to different organizations for the cause.
There was no accessory in sight, but a lot of details went into her face. The actress rocked a pleasant smile while vibing to her song. Her facial glow due to her makeup was hard to miss.
Thorne’s burnt orange wavy hair was patterned in the middle, and it fell freely past her shoulders. It seemed like the recording was indoors as there was a window and green-leafed flowers behind her.
Now, the “Shake It” singer may appear excited as she revealed her gratitude to fans following the song’s success in her post’s caption; there was a time when she was not vocal about her feelings.
At 21, while she commented on her relationship with her mom, she confessed that keeping mute about some necessities led to friction in their relationship. Thankfully, both parties reconnected and are now closer than ever.
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