Local car salesman pleads guilty in identity theft scheme

U.S. Department of Justice logo (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A local car salesman from Newport News pleaded guilty this week to charges in an identity theft scheme, authorities say.

According to the Department of Justice Eastern District of Virginia, 28-year-old Bryan Lewis was involved in a scheme while working as a sales consultant at Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake. He worked at the dealership from 2011 until 2016.

Lewis planned in late 2014 with an associated named Joseph Edmonds to take money from customers’ bank, credit, retail, and phone accounts using their personal information.

Authorities say that between December 2014 and January 2016, Lewis provided Edmonds names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of at least 20 people. These were actual and potential customers with whom Lewis had dealt with at the dealership.

Neither the dealership nor the customers knew Lewis was giving this information to Edmonds.

Using the information, Edmonds is said to have applied for, opened, and accessed accounts through at least 12 financial institutions.

Authorities say he tried to obtain nearly $60,000 from the accounts. For his role in the scheme, Lewis is said to have received $1,500.

Lewis pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison — along with mandatory, consecutive two years in prison — when he is sentenced Nov. 16.