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Armored vehicle assists police in tax fraud investigation in gated New Tampa community

Published Jun. 28, 2012

TAMPA — Police rolled into a gated New Tampa neighborhood with a tank.

They suspected that a couple inside Cory Lake Isles were committing tax fraud. And police knew both had long criminal records.

So in an abundance of caution Tuesday afternoon, they drove the armored vehicle through the grand entrance, past lush landscaping and over red-brick streets.

They parked the tank at 18041 Java Isle Drive, down the street from Tampa's largest lake, near a house that's on the market for $1.9 million.

The neighborhood has mini-mansions. It also has single-family homes in the $200,000s, all parked on roads in keeping with a tropical theme: Bermuda Isle, St. Croix Isle, Barbados Isle, Java Isle.

That's where police arrived at about 3 p.m., search warrant in hand.

Inside the home, they found more than 50 TurboTax cards, multiple ledgers, computers and "other indicators of tax fraud," according to a police report.

The couple — Elvis Martin, 28, and Rosa Moultry, 24 — drove up as police were almost done. A detective tried to pull them over, but Martin didn't stop for four blocks, police say.

When he did, the report states, Moultry was hiding marijuana in the back passenger door compartment, near where a 6-year-old boy was sitting.

Police arrested both Moultry and Martin.

A relative arrived and took custody of the 6-year-old and the two children in the house. Police seized the car, which also had evidence of tax fraud, they said.

The neighborhood was abuzz Tuesday as residents fretted about the husband and wife who had somehow evaded the homeowners association's policy that all renters must pass a background check.

Some residents were concerned about such a risky operation happening on a road occupied by families with children.

Moultry faces charges of child neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a child and possession of marijuana. Martin was charged with fleeing to elude.

Moultry lists herself as a self-employed hairstylist in jail records. Her husband didn't list a job.

Neither was charged in connection with tax fraud or identity theft. That investigation is ongoing, the report said, but police expect that the couple will face more charges.

Martin and Moultry married seven months ago. They rent their house from a woman who lives in California, records show.

Moultry was released Wednesday on $3,000 bail. This was her 16th arrest in Hillsborough, according to jail records.

Martin also was released from jail, on $2,000 bail. This was his 24th arrest in Hillsborough.

Martin has been convicted of aggravated battery, cocaine possession, marijuana possession, trespassing, obstructing or opposing an officer without violence, tampering with evidence and driving without a license.

Times news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.