On Monday, April 8, 2013, a Cherokee County Grand Jury indicted Tina Lewis, a former Department of Community Health (DCH) temporary employee, on two counts of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(a)) for an extensive scheme involving identify fraud and theft by taking.
Between 2008 and 2012, utilizing numerous permutations of her name and identifying information, Lewis worked for various “temp agencies” and was placed for employment in different businesses in which she was responsible for or had access to money.
As a temporary DCH employee between 2010 and 2012, Lewis was in charge of employee expense reimbursements. While applying for a permanent position with DCH in 2012, Lewis’ application contained discrepancies that resulted in an internal investigation. The investigation revealed that Lewis fabricated court documents, school credentials, personal ID data, and other information during the hiring process in order to conceal her past identities, including felony convictions in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. The investigation also determined that she stole at least $25,000.00 from DCH during the time she was a temporary employee.
As a result of further investigation, Lewis is charged with stealing approximately $50,000.00 from her previous employer, Gemini Trucking, from 2008 to 2009. Additionally, she is charged with stealing from her employer with which she started working after being terminated from her position at DCH, Universal Alloy.
The indictment alleges that Lewis would intercept checks written to her employer or to other persons and deposit them into her own checking account. At DCH, she would purportedly cause travel reimbursement checks or wire transfers to DCH employees to be issued, but would have the checks and wire transfers deposited in to her own checking accounts.
Racketeering is punishable by five to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $100,000.00, or three times the amount of any pecuniary value gained by the defendants from the racketeering.
Senior Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent Heather Strickland of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Investigator Karl Reimers of DCH.
Members of the public should keep in mind that indictments contain only allegations against the individual(s) against whom the indictment is sought. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it will be the government’s burden at trial to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations contained in the indictment.