United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Theft from Program Receiving Federal Funds was sentenced by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.
Kevin S. Lewis, age 56, was sentenced on August 14, 2018, to 1 year in federal prison, ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and restitution to Dakota Plains Legal Services.
Dakota Plains Legal Services (DPLS) is a non-profit organization providing legal representation to qualifying individuals in numerous counties in South Dakota. DPLS is a federally funded organization and annually receives over one million dollars of funds in grants from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), an agency of the United States.
Lewis was charged on September 19, 2017. The charge related to Lewis, while employed as the managing attorney for the Pine Ridge DPLS office, embezzling $24,857.75 rightfully belonging to DPLS and using the money for his own benefit.
U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons stated, “This defendant was placed in a position of public trust. He broke that trust by stealing money from a program intended to serve those in need. This sentence sends a message to others who might think stealing from a federal program is an easy way for some fast cash. Instead, it is a sure-fire way to spend some time in federal prison.”
This case was investigated by the LSC Office of Inspector General. Jeffrey E. Schanz, Inspector General of the LSC, stated, “We hope the prosecution of Kevin Lewis offers a strong deterrent to others contemplating stealing LSC funds that are intended to provide much needed legal services to an underprivileged population. We appreciate the leadership offered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota in prosecuting individuals who steal funds meant to serve the civil legal needs of the poor in our country.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson prosecuted the case. Lewis was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.