VA. Beach Man Gets 4½ Years in ID Theft Case

A Virginia Beach man with prior convictions for killing his 2-year-old son and molesting two other children was sentenced Thursday to 4½ years in prison for a new set of crimes: health care fraud and identity theft.

The Virginia Beach man, admitted in federal court that he stole more than $300,000 from a doctor’s office in a check forgery scheme, assisted by a woman who worked in the office. He pleaded guilty to health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The woman, plead guilty as well and was scheduled to be sentenced September 12, 2013. The two had a relationship that produced a child, his attorney said.

The Virginia Beach man admitted that he used the identity of a Virginia Beach doctor to cash forged insurance checks that the woman had stolen from the office. They forged 590 checks totaling $308,000, court records say.

The Virginia Beach man was convicted in 1976 of killing his 2-year-old son in New York by kicking the boy in the stomach. He served about 18 months in prison for that crime. He also served about two years in prison after a 1991 conviction for molesting two children in Virginia Beach.

Because those crimes were so old, that part of his criminal history did not count toward calculating his penalty under federal sentencing guidelines. Otherwise he could have faced considerably more prison time, a prosecutor said.

His attorney, Andrew Protogyrou, tried to shift some blame to the check cashing service he used. The company made it easy to cash the forged checks by not requiring proof of identity, counsel called such action “willful blindness.”

The Virginia Beach man set up an account with the check cashing service using only the business license from the doctor’s practice, which the woman involved had taken, Protogyrou said.

The man then cashed forged insurance checks that the woman had taken from the practice. The woman, employed as the practice’s bookkeeper, was able to cover up the losses to the office.

The Virginia Beach man, also a Vietnam veteran who was wounded in the war, told the federal judge he tried not to get involved but said he was forced by the woman involved in order to keep their relationship intact.

All case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. Prior case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.