Former VA Contractor Arrested In Connection With Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Willie Streater with five counts of wrongful disclosure of health information, two counts of access device fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Streater faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count of wrongful disclosure of health information and access device fraud, to be followed by two additional years’ imprisonment on the aggravated identity theft charge. The indictment also notifies Streater that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $1,146,745.35, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.
According to the indictment and information presented in court, Streater is a former employee of a shredding company that had a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to shred documents at the James A. Haley Tampa VA Hospital. Streater stole documents intended for shredding that contained the personal identifying information of U.S. veterans. Streater then sold the stolen documents to individuals engaged in filing fraudulent tax returns in order to steal tax refunds from the U.S. Treasury.
“Today’s arrest was the result of a three-year multiagency investigation involving local, state, and federal offices,” said Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General – Southeast Field Office. “It is representative of the cooperative efforts of law enforcement to protect veterans’ personally identifiable information and hold those accountable who engage in fraud against veterans.”
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Tampa Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara C. Sweeney.