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Justice News

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Embezzler Sentenced To 41 Months In Federal Prison

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James Moody has sentenced John Yates (42, Ruskin) to three years and five months in federal prison for mail fraud and access device fraud.  As part of his sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $286,279.50, which are the proceeds traceable to his criminal conduct. Yates pleaded guilty on January 29, 2015.

According to court documents, in January 2009, Yates was employed by Federal Marine Terminals (FMT) as the manager of the Port Tampa Bay office. As manager, he would oversee the movement of inbound import shipping containers that had been identified for inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He would then bill customers for FMT’s services in the form of invoices. Yates was responsible for preparing, mailing, and faxing the invoices. Customers were directed to mail payments FMT’s facility in Port Manatee.

In December 2011, while Yates was on vacation, another FMT employee discovered five invoices that looked like FMT invoices, but directed payments to “THW,” in Tampa. A subsequent investigation revealed that the THW payments were deposited into a bank account controlled by Yates. Eighty-nine companies remitted payments to Yates totaling $270,279.50. He was subsequently fired from his position.

After being fired from FMT, Yates was hired as a dispatcher by JRC Transportation, Inc., a large trucking company. There, Yates entered phantom loads into JRC’s system and diverted the related payments back to him. Yates embezzled approximately $30,000 from JRC.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.

Financial Fraud
Updated May 11, 2015