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Press Release

Ex-Employee of Department of Veteran's Affairs Indicted for Embezzling Veteran and Survivor Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois


Terrence Starks, 37, from Bunker Hill, Illinois, was indicted by a federal grand jury for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today. If convicted, Starks faces up to twenty years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years supervised release on the wire fraud count and a mandatory consecutive two year prison sentence for the aggravated identity theft count.

The indictment alleges that Starks worked for the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs and in his position he accessed the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs computerized software system for the payment and distribution of benefits. That database contained names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and bank account information, among other information. The indictment alleges that Starks fraudulently changed the routing number and account number of veteran recipient's benefits to an account controlled by Starks through his girlfriend, thereby misrepresenting to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs that the veteran or survivor was still receiving the benefits.

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. A defendant is presumed innocent of that charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.

Updated August 21, 2015

Identity Theft