Former Tampa Police Corporal Pleads Guilty To Public Corruption Charges
Tampa, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Jeanette Hevel (47, Land O’ Lakes) today pleaded guilty to theft of government property. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Hevel has also agreed to make full restitution to the Unites States Department of Treasury, and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $88,504.71.
According to court documents, Hevel, a Tampa Police Department (TPD) Corporal with more than 20 years’ experience, abused her position and authority to steal 13 United States Treasury tax refund checks (totaling $88,504.71), 21 money orders (totaling approximately $10,000), and one refund anticipation loan check ($3,007.15) from inside the Department’s secure evidence storage area. The unlawful conduct occurred over an approximate 9-month period, beginning in or around September 2011 and continuing through May 2012.
To locate the checks and money orders, Hevel sometimes accessed TPD’s electronic recordkeeping system to identify investigative matters or cases in which tax refund checks and/or money orders had been logged into the Department’s secure property storage area. She then improperly used her status to “check out” the items. On other occasions, the checks and/or money orders were initially forwarded to Hevel—in her capacity as a TPD Criminal Intelligence Bureau Corporal—by Department officers or detectives for further investigation. Once Hevel had the checks and/or money orders in her possession, she enlisted others outside the Department to unlawfully cash the items and then shared the proceeds with them.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay G. Trezevant.