U. S. Department of Justice Release
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Rose Martine Vernet, 34, of Tallahassee, was arraigned today on a five-count indictment charging conspiracy to defraud the United States, conversion of income tax refund checks, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The indictment alleges that between February 2011 and January 2013, Vernet was part of a conspiracy to file fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $350,000 tax refunds.
The conspirators filed the returns in the names of individuals, both living and deceased, whose identities had been stolen. The indictment alleges that Vernet sold eight fraudulently obtained refund checks and provided the buyer with the personal identifying information of the victims to make the checks easier to negotiate. In selling the checks, Vernet is alleged to have told the buyer that the taxpayers were “dead people,” and that “no one will be able to report nothing.”
If convicted, Vernet faces up to ten years in prison on each of the conspiracy and conversion charges, up to twenty years in prison on the mail fraud charge, and a mandatory consecutive two year term of imprisonment for identity theft. Trial is scheduled for April 8, 2013.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the United States Secret Service, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael T. Simpson is prosecuting this 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.