News and Press Releases

VA MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH IDENTITY THEFT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2011

Travel Office Employee Sold Patients’ Identity Information

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Quentin Aucoin, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Southeast Field Office, Vance Luce, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and Enrique Gutierrez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Division announced yesterday’s indictment of Tarakesha Kendrick, 32, of Miami.

The indictment charges that, on May 27 and September 16, 2011, Kendrick unlawfully possessed and transferred the identity information of other persons. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Kendrick committed seven counts of aggravated identity theft. According to a criminal complaint filed in the matter, Kendrick obtained the social security numbers, names, and dates of birth of patients at the VA Medical Center in Miami, where she worked in the Travel Benefits Section. The criminal complaint states that Kendrick sold this identity information to an undercover agent.

Kendrick will be arraigned at 10:00 a.m. on December 12, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres, 99 N.E. 4th Street, Miami, Florida 33132, Room 1027.

If convicted of the charge in Count 1, Kendrick faces a possible term of imprisonment of up to ten years in prison. If convicted of the charge in Count 4, she faces a possible term of imprisonment of up to fifteen years in prison. Additionally, Kendrick faces a possible term of imprisonment of two years as to each of Counts 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the indictment, each of which must run consecutively to any sentence imposed on Counts 1 and 4.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Fraud and identity theft schemes are always a threat to our community, but are particularly reprehensible when they target our veterans seeking medical care. We will continue to bring to justice individuals who misuse their jobs to steal others’ identities for financial profit.”

Special Agent in Charge Quentin Aucoin, of the Department of Veterans Affairs, stated, “We will diligently investigate identity theft schemes perpetrated by VA employees and will make certain that participants in these schemes are brought to justice.”

“Identity theft schemes against our military veterans in need of medical care are especially disturbing. The suspects in these cases will be confronted by a united law enforcement community determined to bring them to justice,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Henry Gutierrez.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the agencies involved in this case. The cases is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Couriel and Karen O. Stewart.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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