TAMPA — They were Jabil Circuit Inc. ghosts who didn't really exist. But their moving expenses were enormous.
A woman who worked for the St. Petersburg-based global electronics manufacturer has signed a plea agreement in federal court admitting that she helped create bogus, nonexistent Jabil employees and then won payment for their moving allowances.
Alesia Ann Spivey. along with unnamed co-conspirators, pocketed $318,000 in fraudulent moving expenses in 2010 and 2011 for 24 fictitious Jabil workers, according to her plea agreement this week. These "employees' " moving expenses ranged from $10,325 to $15,325, prosecutors say.
Jabil pays moving expenses for new employees or workers who are transferring between offices. Jabil worked with a New Jersey firm, Weichert Relocation Resources Inc., to handle relocation benefits.
Spivey, a St. Petersburg resident who was Jabil's global mobility coordinator, created bogus employee profiles on Weichert's computer system and then authorized expense payments to them, prosecutors said. Spivey recruited people to pretend they were Jabil employees, according to her plea agreement.
Spivey also admitted that she and others filed 217 fraudulent tax returns seeking $1.5 million in refunds from the IRS. The IRS paid a total of $551,000.
Spivey is pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to commit wire and tax fraud. Each charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. A plea hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8.