By Ashley Cox

MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)–Reversing a federal magistrate judge’s ruling, United States District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. has ordered that Kenny Terlent, 19, will remain in a federal detention center without bond pending his trial on charges of illegally possessing a machine gun, identity theft, and Covid-19 benefit related fraud.

According to the indictment and criminal complaint affidavit filed in his case, Terlent and other members of the 77th Street gang exploited programs that offered unemployment compensation benefits to people suffering Covid-19-related job loss.  As part of their scheme, Terlent and his co-conspirators obtained stolen identities (names, social security numbers, dates of birth and other personal sensitive information) from the dark web and other sources, says the affidavit.  With the stolen identities, Terlent and his co-conspirators filed for unemployment compensation benefits meant for individuals who had lost jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, then used bank cards in other people’s names to collect the money and transfer it to bank accounts that they controlled, it is alleged.

On June 24, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Terlent’s residence.  According to the affidavit, Terlent ran from officers who approached him outside and threw his cellular telephone into a nearby lake.  Law enforcement recovered the phone, searched it pursuant to a warrant, and found that it contained stolen identity information.  Inside Terlent’s home, in addition to other evidence of fraud, officers found a stolen Glock 19 handgun with an auto-sear device affixed to it, says the affidavit.  When installed on a handgun, an auto-sear, colloquially called a “switch,” allows a handgun to expel more than one bullet by a single pull of the trigger, turning the weapon into a fully automatic machine gun. Terlent does not have a permit to possess a machine gun, according to the charges.

Law enforcement officers arrested Terlent, and a South Florida federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with possessing 15 or more unauthorized access devices, aggravated identity theft, and the illegal possession of a machine gun.