Teen was writing a criminal to-do list when the cops came. Now he’ll be doing time

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Topping a list of Things Cops Want to Find When Executing a Search Warrant at a Suspected Million Dollar Fraudster’s Home might be “the suspect writing his fraud to-do list.”

That’s what law enforcement found Phyllistone Termine doing at his North Miami-Dade home. That’s not the only reason Termine, 19, was sentenced last week to four and a half years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and access device fraud.

But it didn’t help.

The scam involved converting the modern tax return scam to unemployment benefits — amassing names and Social Security numbers and getting benefits in great waves of fraudulent filings, Termine admitted in court documents. Using more than 1,000 such names and numbers, the criminally enterprising teenager falsely procured $1,019,859 in benefits from March 2015 through May 2016.

Unemployment benefits distributed by the state of Florida, but it’s federal government money, which put the Department of Labor on the case. Termine made those filings from two Internet Provider addresses linked to his home in the 200 block of Northeast 111th Street.

When cops burst into Termine’s home with a search warrant on May 20, 2016, they found him in his bedroom, listening to music through his earbuds, writing what appeared to be a summer to-do list on a legal pad. The list included the tasks “Buy Online, Merrick BNK & CCVs” and “Buy 3 phones, 1 clean 2 dirty’s.”

The first phrase means buying Merrick Bank credit card numbers and the security code on the back from sites on the “dark web.”

Next to Termine on his bed: three cell phones and laptop. Hidden between the mattress and box spring: debit and credit cards that didn’t belong to Termine or anybody who lived with Termine. Also, there were blank white plastic cards with magnetic strips. Termine also had the necessary equipment to encode the magnetic strip on a credit or debit card.


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