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Press Release

Former VA Employee Sentenced To Prison For Theft Of Veterans’ Personal Information

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez-Covington today sentenced David F. Lewis to 6 years in federal prison for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.  As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $105,271.00, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.  Lewis pleaded guilty on December 10, 2013.

According to court documents and testimony presented in court, Lewis was an employee at the Tampa VA Medical Center.  On at least five different dates in 2012, Lewis accessed and printed the personal information, including names, social security numbers, and medical information, of over 100 veterans who were in-patients at the Tampa VA Medical Center.  Lewis then gave these documents to someone else in exchange for crack cocaine, knowing that the veterans’ information would be used by others to file fraudulent tax returns in order to fraudulently obtain tax refunds, and in at least one instance, to apply for lines of credit in the veteran’s name.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is paying for credit monitoring for those victims known to be affected by Lewis’ theft.

“David Lewis’s sentence today of 72 months holds Lewis accountable for his criminal actions,” says James Robnett, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI.  “Lewis misused his position of trust as an employee of the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital and stole the identities of veterans and war heroes.  These identities were used to file false income tax returns.  Members of the Tampa Bay Alliance including as the Veterans Administration-Office of Inspector General, the Tampa Police Department together with IRS-CI will continue to aggressively investigate these cases and hold those who commit these crimes accountable for their actions.”

After today's sentencing, Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said "This case is the collective work of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to aggressively pursue those that commit identity theft. The fact that a person who was charged to care for veterans used that position to steal their identity is reprehensible."

“Stealing and selling the identity of a war hero is as low as it gets. Thankfully, the work of the Tax Fraud Alliance in the Tampa Bay Area is making it very difficult to target veterans,” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service -- Criminal Investigation, and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara C. Sweeney.

Updated January 26, 2015