By Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- A former top agent with the Drug Enforcement
Administration was charged Monday with embezzlement and with using
agency employees in New York, Salt Lake City and Baltimore to benefit
his private investigative firm, prosecutors said.
Kevin M. Tamez was charged in an indictment in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan with embezzling $138,000 while he served as assistant
special agent in charge of the DEA's New York division or as an
associate special agent from 1999 through February.
The indictment accused Tamez, 50, of Mt. Laurel, N.J., of convincing
other DEA employees to obtain cash from the DEA cashier for official
expenses and then give the money to him for supposed DEA-related
"As Tamez well knew, these claims were false because the cash was not
needed for official business but instead was kept by Tamez," the
Prosecutors accused Tamez of using the money to pay a variety of
personal expenses, including credit card bills, the lease of a Chevy
Suburban, men's suits the repair of a hot tub at his home.
Tamez became the assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's New
York division in September 1999 and was promoted in January 2002 to
associate special agent in charge of operational support in New York.
In that position, he was responsible for the financial management of
the New York division, prosecutors said.
He was suspended without pay on Feb. 24 and resigned on Oct. 17.
The indictment accused Tamez of using some of the money to benefit a
private investigations firm he worked for under aliases such as
"Kenneth P. Thomas," "James Fox" and "John DiGravio." Prosecutors
said clients of the company included law firms, companies and
Tamez was due to appear in court with a lawyer, Peter Sheridan, later
Monday. Sheridan declined to comment before the proceeding began.
If convicted, Tamez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on
mail fraud and wire fraud counts and 10 years in prison on the
embezzlement counts. He also was charged with computer fraud and
aiding and abetting the filing of a false statement.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney James B. Comey called Tamez's alleged
conduct "egregious," saying he "abused virtually every resource
available to him and exploited not only DEA resources around the
country, but also law enforcement resources abroad."
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DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said in a statement that the charges
were "especially disturbing because they tarnish the integrity and
courage demonstrated daily by thousands of DEA agents."