TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh, Northern District of Florida, announced that Elisa Christina Avila Jackson, 30, of Tallahassee, Florida, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in court after being charged by a federal grand jury with five counts of wire fraud and one count of possessing a counterfeit Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) stamp.
The indictment alleges that between June 7, 2011, and February 11, 2014, Jackson conducted a scheme to defraud owners of large tractor trailers around the State of Florida of monies that were to be paid to the IRS relating to the federal Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax. Jackson operated Bee’s Carrier Permitting and Licensing, Inc. (“BCPL”), which purportedly provided assistance to owners of large tractor trailers in preparing and filing their annual applications for registration with the State of Florida. As mandated by federal regulation, prior to issuing a vehicle registration, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles required BCPL and others applying for annual large tractor trailer registrations to provide a copy of a tax form stamped by the IRS as proof that the owner’s federal Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax had been paid.
The indictment further alleges that Jackson collected from BCPL customers the amount due and owing to the IRS for the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax and promised to pay that amount to the IRS. However, rather than paying the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax to the IRS, Jackson created fraudulent IRS forms bearing a counterfeit IRS numbered remittance stamp, which forms falsely reflected that these taxes had been remitted to the IRS. The indictment also charges that through this scheme, Jackson fraudulently obtained approximately $248,000.00.
Counts One through Five of the indictment charge Jackson with wire fraud. For each of these counts, if convicted, Jackson faces a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years, a period of supervised release of up to three (3) years, a fine of up to $250,000, and a $100 special monetary assessment. Count Six of the indictment charges Jackson with possession of an IRS stamp with intent to defraud. If convicted on this count, Jackson faces a term of imprisonment of not more than five (5) years, a period of supervised release of up to three (3) years, a fine of up to $10,000, and a $100 special monetary assessment.
The trial of this case is scheduled for November 3, 2014, before the Honorable Robert L. Hinkle.
The indictment results from an investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Commercial Vehicle and Driver Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Beaton.
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. The defendant is 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 in a court of law.