Fort Pierce Judge Sentences Two Men to Federal Prison for Producing Child Sexual Abuse Material out of Tattoo Shop and Other Crimes
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), announce that defendants Marlan L. Copeland, 42, and Vory V. Copeland, 40, both of Miramar, and Brannoc K. Rudd, 71, of Miami Gardens, were charged in an eighteen-count indictment for conspiring to unjustly enrich themselves by obtaining United States Department of Treasury tax refund checks to which they were not entitled for their personal use and benefit. Marlan L. Copeland and Vory V. Copeland made their initial appearances today before United States Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley. Defendant Rudd remains at large.
Specifically, each defendant was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, five counts of theft of government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1), one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators submitted fraudulent federal income tax returns to the United States Department of Treasury in the names, and using the social security account numbers, of individuals without their authority. The defendants and their co-conspirators obtained tax refund checks belonging to other individuals and then cashed those tax refund checks without the authority or knowledge of the taxpayers. The defendants and their co-conspirators caused over $300,000 in tax refund checks to be cashed or deposited into their bank accounts which they and their co-conspirators then retained for their personal use and benefit.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and USSS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gera R. Peoples.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.