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Justice News

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Former Director of Arts Center Charged with Wire Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Vicki Dyer Middlemas, 48, of Panama City, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Panama City after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging her with five counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.  The indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The indictment alleges that between May 2010 and May 2015, Middlemas used her position as Executive Director of the Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida (“the VAC”) in Panama City to fraudulently obtain money by writing herself checks on the VAC bank account and by making unauthorized charges for personal expenses on the VAC debit card.  The indictment further alleges that Middlemas falsified invoices and VAC records to conceal her thefts.  In addition, Middlemas is charged with filing false federal income tax returns that underreported her income and tax owed.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison.  The maximum penalty for filing false tax returns is 3 years in prison.  The trial is scheduled for April 16, 2018, at 8:15 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Panama City.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation and the Panama City Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Aine Ahmed is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Financial Fraud
For more information, contact: Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer amy.alexander@usdoj.gov
Updated February 13, 2018