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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Unsealed Indictment Details Cocaine Trafficking, Tax Evasion

A 12-count federal indictment was unsealed today charging Lawrence E. Tipton, 48, Angela G. Tipton, 46, both of Copley, and Ebony Brown, 41, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, with conspiracy to defraud the United States of America, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The indictment further charges Lawrence and Angela Tipton with conspiracy to evade payment of taxes and attempt to evade and defeat the payment of taxes.  Ebony Brown and Lawrence Tipton are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and Brown is also charged with three counts of distributing cocaine. 

Finally, all three defendants are charged in various counts with engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

From around April 2003 through December 31, 2014, Lawrence and Angela Tipton conspired to evade the payment of assessed taxes.  Their conduct involved failing to report income, creating various business entities to hide their income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the indictment.

Lawrence Tipton, Angela Tipton, and Ebony Brown conspired to use a trucking business known as Palmyra Acres as a means to mingle proceeds of drug trafficking with apparent legitimate proceeds of a trucking operation.  Lawrence Tipton and Ebony Brown conspired to distribute cocaine they acquired in Texas and Florida and sold in Ohio, according to the indictment.

All three defendants are charged with engaging in monetary transactions using proceeds of drug trafficking.

If convicted, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert E. Bulford and Samuel A. Yannucci.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Updated March 12, 2015