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Press Release

Polk County Man Indicted For Tax Fraud

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

Tampa, Florida - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Norman V. Charlton was indicted yesterday on tax fraud charges.  The thirteen-count indictment charges Charlton with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. He is also charged with four counts of wire fraud, four counts of theft of government property, and four counts of aggravated identity theft. Charlton faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge, 20 years’ imprisonment for each wire fraud offense, 10 years’ imprisonment for each count of theft of government property, and 2 consecutive years for the aggravated identity theft offenses. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of nearly $15,000 in U.S. currency seized on March 21, 2012, and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the fraud, which is alleged to be at least $412,000. Charlton previously made his initial appearance in federal court on September 30, 2013, after being arrested and detained in federal custody on a federal complaint alleging theft of government property. 

According to the indictment, beginning as early as August 2011 and continuing through at least June 4, 2012, Charlton and co-conspirators used stolen names and social security numbers to electronically file fraudulent tax returns and obtain tax refunds to which they were not entitled. A record of those filings was kept in a detailed ledger. The fraudulent refunds were deposited onto reloadable debit cards in others’ names and/or disbursed in U.S. Treasury checks and were mailed to addresses controlled or directed by Charlton and others. The indictment alleges that Charlton and his co-conspirators used and directed the fraudulent tax refunds to obtain cash and goods for their own benefit and the benefit of others.

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.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley Howard-Allen.

Updated January 26, 2015