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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 18, 2014

Six Individuals Involved In A Prison Tax Refund Scheme Indicted And Arrested

 Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging six individuals with conspiracy to defraud the government. Laura Wright (70, Lecanto), Tiffani Manning (30, Jacksonville), Silvester Bowens (48, Jacksonville), Christopher Wyant (38, Morristown, TN), and Tabatha Dubois (33, Morristown, TN) were all arrested on April 15, 2014. Chad R. Heins was arrested this morning. Heins, Manning, Bowens and Dubois also face charges of theft of public money and aiding and abetting the theft of public money. If convicted of the conspiracy charge, each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The theft of public money counts each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, as well.            

According to the indictment, the above named individuals agreed, combined and conspired with each other and inmates Ronald Rodgers, a/k/a “Ronnie” and “Arthur Pellerin,” John Wright and others to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by obtaining and attempting to obtain the payment of false federal income tax refunds. The amounts claimed on the federal income tax returns included expected income tax refunds ranging between $5,762 and $24,794. It was part of the conspiracy that inmate Ronald Rodgers and other persons would cause the IRS to send fraudulently obtained income tax refunds via direct deposit, into several accounts opened and controlled by some of the conspirators, including Heins, Manning, Bowens and Dubois. The intended losses totaled approximately $6.8 million.  
 

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

The case was investigated by The Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Florida Department of Corrections.  Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase is handling the prosecution of this case.

Click HERE for indictment.

Updated January 26, 2015