Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Keaujay Hornsby, a/k/a “Plug,” (26, Tampa); Kareem Spann, a/k/a “Reem,” (27, Tampa); and Tywon Spann, a/k/a “Weez” (25, Tampa) have pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy related to numerous violent, drug trafficking, and economic crimes that were committed in furtherance of a criminal enterprise called “Robles Park.” Hornsby and Kareem Spann have also pleaded guilty to committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering and discharging firearms in aid of crimes of violence. Eriaus Bentley (29, Tampa) and the three other defendants have each also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud and identity theft, and committing numerous substantive acts of fraud and identity theft. Bentley faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison. Tywon Spann faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Hornsby and Kareem Spann each face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
According to court documents, “Robles Park” is a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts involving murder, assault, intimidation, narcotics trafficking, access device fraud, identity theft, obstruction of justice, and other crimes. Among other acts of violence, on July 19, 2020, Hornsby and Kareem Spann committed a shooting outside the Truth Lounge in Tampa, igniting a shootout in front of a crowd that left eight people injured, including minors. On the afternoon of July 25, 2020, in retaliation for the Truth Lounge shooting, in the parking lot of the International Plaza in Tampa and near several witnesses, West Tampa gang members initiated an armed confrontation with Hornsby and Kareem Spann. Hornsby and Kareem Spann exchanged fire with the gang members, leaving behind 25 spent shell casings and several damaged vehicles.
This enterprise also distributed controlled substances, with customers that would also cover sales for each other. Sales were arranged via text messages, phone calls, and in-person contacts. The defendants maintained and used various premises to store and distribute the narcotics. On January 5, 2021, law enforcement officers searched one of the residences and found 253.2 grams of cocaine, 298.4 grams of marijuana, and 174.2 grams of synthetic cannabinoids.
Additionally, members of the enterprise worked with each other and other persons to unlawfully obtain the personal identifying information (PII) of other persons. They used this PII to submit false applications for unemployment benefits to which they were not entitled. In total, the defendants submitted more than 200 fraudulent claims, in 20 different states, with an intended loss of over $3 million. For many of those claims, a bank card was issued from the state in which the claim was filed, loaded with Unemployment Insurance funds. The defendants then used each of the cards to withdraw cash from an ATM.
On August 12, 2020, law enforcement officers searched Tywon Spann’s home and seized firearms, several pounds of marijuana, and $200,000 in cash, which is traceable to proceeds of these offenses, and will be forfeited.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the United States Secret Service, and the Department of Labor. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diego F. Novaes.