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Cape man sentenced to federal prison

By Staff | Nov 15, 2011

Brandon T. Albanito

A Cape Coral man has been sentenced to federal prison for producing and distributing fake driver’s licenses, for which he pocketed at least $1 million.

U.S. District Judge John E. Steele sentenced Brandon T. Albanito, 25, of 801 W. Cape Estates Circle, to 87 months – 6 1/2 years – Monday. In May, he had pleaded guilty to several charges under a deal with prosecutors.

In the plea agreement, Albanito pleaded to:

– Two counts of unlawful production of false identification documents

– Two counts of unlawful transfer of false identification documents

– One count of using a fictious name to conduct unlawful business by means of the U.S. Postal Service

– Two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from a specified unlawful activity

– One count of structuring currency transactions to evade reporting requirements

– Two counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute

– One count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon

He also agreed to forfeit $868,040, a 2010 Lexus, the West Cape Estates home, jewelry, an iPhone, computers and software programs, a Caspian Arms .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a Remington .45-caliber ammunition.

Albanito faced a maximum of 145 years in prison if he had been convicted on all of the charges and if he received the maximum allowed for each charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Michelland handled the case.

“Given all the factors in the case, we are comfortable with the judge’s decision,” William Daniels, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, said Tuesday.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Frank Zaremba represented Albanito.

He did not return a message seeking comment on the case Tuesday.

According to court documents, Albanito produced and distributed fake driver’s licenses to underage teens in Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana, North Dakota and California since at least August 2008. Using a referral e-mail account, he created the high-quality counterfeit licenses for $150 each.

In August 2009, he wired $83,020 to an automotive company in Texas for the purchase of a 2003 Ferrari. Two months later, Albanito bought the home on West Cape Estates for $317,500, the court documents state. In July, he was arrested on a federal warrant and a search was executed at his home.

Authorities seized in excess of $860,040 in cash, a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, marijuana, cocaine, MDMA powder or Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and more than 4,000 empty pill capsules and small bags. He told authorities that he had made at least $1 million from his license scheme.