Crime & Courts

Man gets prison for commiting tax fraud with vets’ stolen medical records

TAMPA — A convicted killer who used stolen veterans’ medical records to commit tax fraud was sentenced Monday to 7 1⁄2 years in federal prison Monday.

Alexander Lenox was arrested after Tampa police investigated the smell of marijuana at a room at the Motel 6 on East Fowler Avenue May 17, 2011. Inside, investigators found marijuana and evidence of tax fraud, including debit cards and records from James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. Many of the records were stamped as being from the hospital’s prosthetics unit, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney.

Lenox, 43, has a long criminal record, including a 1988 conviction for manslaughter for which he was sentenced to 3 1⁄2 years in state prison. His convictions also include aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, robbery and drug offenses.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Lenox said before he was sentenced Monday. “I’m very remorseful about that. I accept responsibility.”

A codefendant, James Earl Smiley, was sentenced last year to three years and one month in prison. Another codefendant, Hantz St. Marc, has not yet been sentenced.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney told U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore that authorities hope to bring charges soon against the person who was working at Haley and selling veterans medical records.

The judge was horrified at the fraud, which was part of a wave of identity theft tax refund fraud that washed over the Tampa area the last few years. Tampa at one point was the recognized epicenter for this kind of theft, which involved the use of stolen identity information to file fraudulent tax returns to con the government into giving out bogus refunds.

“These offenses are nothing short of blatant, callous fraud,” Whittemore said. “It is simply incomprehensible how our government is unable to detect and prevent this type of fraud.”


Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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