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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Riverview Man Convicted Of Conspiracy To Commit Theft Of Government Property

Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that a federal jury today found Chris J. McDonald, Sr. (53, Riverview) guilty of conspiracy to commit theft of government property and nine related substantive counts of theft. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each theft count. A sentencing date has not yet been set.  

 

This case is related to the earlier federal prosecution of Jeanette Hevel, a former Tampa Police Department (TPD) corporal with more than 20 years’ experience who stole 13 United States Treasury tax refund checks, money orders, and a refund anticipation loan check from various locations inside TPD, including its secure evidence property room. Her unlawful conduct occurred over an approximately 9-month period beginning in September 2011. In April 2015, Hevel pleaded guilty for her conduct pursuant to a plea agreement in which she agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation of those responsible for cashing the stolen tax refund checks. (See United States v. Jeanette Hevel, Case No. 8:15-cr-59-T-33MAP).

 

On December 9, 2015, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against McDonald and Joseph Lugo for their roles in the criminal conduct. According to the indictment and other court records, Hevel provided 9 of the 13 stolen tax refund checks to Lugo who then delivered them to Robert Sanders and McDonald. McDonald deposited the checks into one of his bank accounts and then typically returned to the bank the next business day and withdrew the funds and shared them amongst the conspirators, including Hevel. None of the conspirators knew any of the payees listed on the tax refund checks nor did they have permission from any of the payees to possess or deposit the checks.

 

In June 2017, Lugo pleaded guilty for his role in this case. Sanders pleaded guilty in 2014 and testified for the government during the trial. (See United States v. Robert Sanders, Case No. 8:14-cr-411-T-23AEP).

 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay G. Trezevant and Frank Murray.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
StopFraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated December 14, 2017