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Press Release

Placida Couple Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Defraud The United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Samuel Lawrence and Julee Lawrence have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to impede and impair the ability of the Internal Revenue Service to ascertain and collect employment tax revenue. Each faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Samuel Lawrence owned and managed Innovative Marine Structures, LLC, a marine construction company operating in the Middle District of Florida. His wife, Julee Lawrence, handled payroll and other duties for the company. Beginning in January 2014 and continuing through September 2016, the couple engaged in a conspiracy to impede the IRS by cashing large corporate checks at a local bank and using those funds to pay certain employees of their company in cash and by failing to report the employment of those employees on federal tax forms. As a result of those actions, the couple caused their payroll company to fail to report and pay to the IRS the required federal employment taxes due from the payment of those employees’ wages. The total amount of employment taxes that the company should have paid to the IRS on those employees’ wages was approximately $238,483.

This case was investigated by the IRS - Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

Updated February 16, 2021

Financial Fraud