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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

December 15, 2003

Former Top NY DEA Agent Accused of Embezzlement

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 expenses.

"As Tamez well knew, these claims were false because the cash was not needed for official business but instead was kept by Tamez," the indictment said.

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 individuals.

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."

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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."

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