Federal Convict Charged With False Claims, Theft Of Government Property, And Money Laundering In Multimillion Dollar Fraud Scheme

Federal Convict Charged With False Claims, Theft Of Government Property, And Money Laundering In Multimillion Dollar Fraud Scheme

Tampa, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest of Matthew Walker Meredith (39, St. Petersburg) for false claims against the government, theft of government property, and money laundering. If convicted on all counts, Meredith faces a maximum penalty of 75 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Meredith that the United States intends to forfeit six Mercedes Benz vehicles and real property, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.

In 2016, Meredith was convicted of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute Ethylone and sentenced to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The Bureau of Prisons released Meredith in October 2017, and he began serving his term of supervised release. While on supervised release, Meredith began to submit claims for tax refunds to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the names of entities under his control. According to the indictment, between August 2019 and February 2020, Meredith submitted five claims to the IRS requesting more than $170 million in refunds. Each claim was false and fraudulent, in that Meredith falsified both his income and withholdings.

On or about November 23, 2019, the IRS issued Meredith a refund check in the amount of $6,374,576.92, which Meredith deposited into his bank account. In the weeks that followed, Meredith laundered the illicit proceeds by purchasing luxury vehicles and a waterfront home. Specifically, he purchased six new Mercedes Benz vehicles totaling $843,269.32.

Date of Purchase

Type of Vehicle

Cost

11.30.19

2020 Mercedes Benz S63AMG3

$187,327.68

11.30.19

2019 Mercedes Benz SL63

$156,404.27

11.30.19

2020 Mercedes Benz C63WS

$103,547.17

12.6.19

2020 Mercedes Benz GLE350W

$72,707.55

12.6.19

2020 Mercedes Benz AMG GTR

$232,368.12

12.7.19

2019 Mercedes Benz C63WS

$90,914.53

Additionally, on December 5, 2019, Meredith paid $2,625,000 in cash to purchase a 6,500 square-foot waterfront mansion in St. Petersburg.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.  This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.

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