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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Three Hendry County Women Indicted For Conspiracy, Theft Of Government Funds And Identity Theft

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the arrest and unsealing of a fifteen-count indictment charging Roeshell Denise Williams, Sheree Peterson, and Yajaira Crespo, all of Clewiston, Florida, with conspiracy to make false claims to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for payment, and to embezzle and steal government funds. In addition, all three are charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Specifically, Williams is charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of theft of government funds. Peterson is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of theft of government funds and six counts of aggravated identity theft, and Crespo is charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of theft of government funds and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison for each count of conspiracy and up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the theft of government funds counts. They also face 2 years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charges, to be served consecutive to the other sentences imposed. The indictment also notifies Williams, Peterson and Crespo that the United States intends to forfeit any assets which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.  

According to the indictment, between January 2012 and September 2012, Williams, Peterson and Crespo allegedly conspired with each other, and others, to file fraudulent tax returns in the names of individuals who did not authorize Williams, Peterson or Crespo to do so. The refunds from the fraudulent tax returns were then deposited into bank accounts controlled by Williams, Peterson or Crespo. The three then converted the funds for their personal use. 

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 Jeffrey F. Michelland.

Updated January 26, 2015