Jury Finds Former IRB St. John Supervisor Nealia Sprauve Not Guilty of Fraud Charges


Former St. John V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue supervisor Nealia Sprauve was acquitted of all counts of fraud in the U.S. District Court after a one-day trial on Monday, January 27, and a full day of deliberation by the jury on Tuesday, January 28.

A St. Johnian who was a popular official in an unpopular position, Sprauve chose not to testify on her own behalf and her defense called no witnesses.

Sprauve was facing three counts of fraud by a BIR employee for allegedly helping the father of her children avoid paying almost $90,000 in taxes over three years from 2006 through 2008.

Sprauve simply was being used as a scapegoat and her involvement should have been considered a personnel matter, Sprauve’s federal public defender, Gabriel Villegas told the jury before it began deliberations on Tuesday, according to one published report.

“She was terminated,” Villegas reportedly told the jury. “That was the appropriate sentence.”

Sprauve was accused of helping Joseph Clendenin Sr. avoid paying income taxes to the IRB. The prosecution also contended Sprauve used her position at the IRB to falsify Clendenin’s tax status to help him qualify for a government contract for his company, JC Security Services.

No Authority To Approve Documents
“It (the jury decision) was not guilty,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Chisholm told Tradewinds. “The judge doesn’t inquire into the jury’s deliberations.”

Sprauve did not have the authority to approve the documents that she approved, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Lake told the jury, the V.I. Daily News reported.

Sprauve had been released on an unsecured bond after her arrest. She was released from the bond after her acquittal.

The case against Sprauve’s original co-defendant Clendenin reportedly was dismissed without prejudice, allowing it to be re-filed at a later date, after neurological and psychological tests raised questions about Clendenin’s competency to stand trial.

District Judge Curtis Gomez suggested the attorney’s organize further competency tests to determine whether Clendenin is competent enough to stand trial, according to a report in the Daily News.