A Brandon man was sentenced Thursday to seven years, three months in federal prison for using Veterans Affairs records to file at least 71 fraudulent tax returns.
Anthony R. Reeves was convicted in a bench trial Feb. 3 on multiple counts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft of government property, federal authorities said.
Reeves told investigators he purchased the records from a VA employee. An investigation into the source of the records is ongoing, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley said.
According to court documents, on May 8, 2012, Reeves was stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper for speeding and other traffic infractions.
After a drug K-9 alerted on the vehicle, the car was searched for narcotics. However, the search uncovered a backpack that contained a laptop, a plastic bag containing 35 debit cards, multiple cellphones, a notebook, and 54 medical records from the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, court records show.
The VA medical records contained the names and Social Security numbers of patients, prosecutors said. In total, Reeves had the personal information of 69 veterans and 52 others.
The notebook contained lists of names, Social Security numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers and cellphone numbers, and the laptop was used to access several debit accounts of the victims, records show.
In addition to prison time, Reeves was ordered to pay more than $69,000, a portion of the proceeds from the crimes, Bentley’s office said in a news release.