Description: Newport News, VA - Car Salesman Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft Scheme on Eve of Trial
A Newport News man pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, and identity theft.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Bryan Lewis, 28, was employed as Sales Consultant at Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake from 2011 until June 2016. In late 2014, Lewis agreed to provide an associate, Joseph Edmonds, with his customersí personal identifying information for use in an account opening and takeover scheme through which the two planned to obtain money from bank, credit, retail, and phone accounts opened in those customersí names. Between December 2014 and January 2016, Lewis provided Edmonds with the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of at least 20 actual and potential Priority Chevrolet customers with whom Lewis had dealt during that same period. Neither the customers nor Priority Chevrolet knew of or consented to Lewisís transfer of this information to Edmonds. Edmonds used the information that Lewis provided to apply for, open, and access accounts through at least 12 financial institutions and retailers. Edmonds then used these accounts to conduct transactions through which he attempted to obtain nearly $60,000. For his participation in the scheme, Lewis received approximately $1,500, all of which derived from the proceeds Edmonds obtained through his use of the information Lewis had provided.
Lewis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Trial of his case was set to begin tomorrow morning in Newport News. Lewis faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, along with a mandatory, consecutive penalty of 2 years in prison when sentenced on November 16. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Richard W. Myers, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin C. Gratton and Special Assistant United States Attorney Alexander B. Gottfried are prosecuting the case.