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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tampa Couple Arrested For Tax Fraud

Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Jermell C. Hickman and Ebonie Hampton, both of Tampa, with one count of conspiracy, four counts of wire fraud, twelve counts of filing false claims, ten counts of theft of government property, and ten counts of aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all counts, each face a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge, up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud charge, up to 5 years imprisonment for each charge of filing false claims, and up to 10 years in prison for each offense of theft of government property, all of which to be followed by up to 2 years imprisonment for each count of aggravated identity theft. The Indictment also notifies both individuals that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $288,607.25, the proceeds of their scheme to defraud.

According to the indictment, Hickman and Hampton engaged in a conspiracy with each other, from at least as early as January 2012 through October 2012, to file fraudulent tax returns using stolen identity information of other individuals in order to obtain tax refunds.

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. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara C. Sweeney.

Updated January 26, 2015