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| Crime |

After New Times Exposé, Former State Senate Candidate Gets Seven Years in Prison

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In 2016, an Illinois man, Jean Alexandre, contacted New Times with a wild tip. The retired ob-gyn said he'd been ripped off by a North Miami real-estate broker — and he was incredulous that the broker, Anis Blemur, had the gall to declare a run for the Florida Senate.

After New Times published Alexandre's allegations of being defrauded by Blemur to the tune of $70,000, the FBI contacted the doctor, he says. Last fall, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Blemur with four counts of wire fraud related to Alexandre's financial loss. And, finally, this week Blemur was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison.

"We got justice," Alexandre tells New Times. "Finally, he will be put in jail."

Investigators say Blemur, who was born in Haiti, stole at least $1.6 million from his victims, most of them members of South Florida's Haitian community. In general, Blemur took money from would-be real-estate investors and used the funds for his own personal expenses. During the investigation, federal agents uncovered even more fraud: Blemur had used his victims' personal information to apply for 26 credit cards.

In Alexandre's case, the doctor says he gave Blemur $70,000 to purchase an investment property in North Miami. But Blemur never bought the property — and when Alexandre requested his money back, Blemur brazenly asked if he could use the funds for his state Senate campaign.

To this day, Alexandre still hasn't recouped his losses, he says. Although Blemur's sentence calls for the convicted fraudster to repay 10 percent of his future income as restitution, Alexandre isn't sure if he'll ever get his money back.

"I'm retired, so whatever I can get, that would help me," he says.

According to federal prison records, Blemur is being held at the FDC Miami facility. After his release, he will be placed on probation for five years.

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