Immokalee Man Sentenced for Theft of Government Money and Aggravated Identity Theft
Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge John E. Steele has sentenced Ernest Freeman, Jr. to three years and six months in federal prison for theft of government money and aggravated identity theft. He was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervision following his release from prison. In addition, the Court entered a special assessment in the amount of $2,200, due immediately, and imposed a fine of $7,500. Restitution is yet to be determined. A federal jury found him guilty on October 27, 2014.
According to testimony and other evidence presented at trial, between September 2011 and March 2012, Freeman signed and deposited 11 federal income tax refund checks into his business account at Fifth Third Bank, of which he was the sole beneficiary. The checks were issued in the names of others who had not given Freeman authority to cash the checks. In total, he stole more than $100,000 belonging to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.