Former government employee sentenced

ATLANTA -- Tina Lewis, a former temporary employee of the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), has been sentenced to seven years in prison to be followed by 28 years on probation, plus $90,000 in restitution, for theft and racketeering

According to a news release issued Wednesday by the office of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Lewis was sentenced in Cherokee County Superior Court on Tuesday after she pleaded guilty to two counts of racketeering and one count of theft by taking in an extensive scheme involving identity fraud and theft.

The AG's office said that between 2008 and 2012, Lewis worked for various "temp agencies" under numerous alterations of her own name and identifying information. In each of the positions, she was responsible for or had access to money.

According to officials, while applying for a permanent position with DCH in 2012, Lewis' application was found to contain discrepancies. An investigation revealed that Lewis had fabricated court documents, school credentials, personal identity data and other information during her hiring process. It also was discovered that Lewis had multiple identities and felony convictions in Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia, and that she had stolen nearly $40,000 from DCH during her time as a temporary employee, prosecutors said.

Lewis was charged with stealing approximately $48,000 from a previous employer, Gemini Trucking, from 2008 to 2009. Additionally, she was charged with stealing from employer Universal Alloy, where she began working after being terminated at DCH.

The indictment stated that Lewis intercepted checks written to her employer or to other people and deposited them into her checking account. At DCH, she caused travel reimbursement checks or wire transfers to DCH employees to be issued, but would have the checks and transfers deposited into her checking accounts, officials said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by Special Agent Heather Strickland of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Investigator Karl Reimers of DCH.