Sailor gets 47 months for theft of identities

Fellow service members were victims of scheme by Navy petty officer

February 24, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A Navy petty officer from the Baltimore area who stole the identities of nearly two dozen service members was sentenced yesterday to 47 months in the brig, according to a military spokesman.

Curtis L. Phillips was convicted of identity theft and three other charges relating to his enlistment and service during a general court-martial at the Navy Trial Service Office in Norfolk, Va., Navy officials said. Four of the 22 victims, all of whom were stationed with Phillips aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, testified during the proceedings, officials said.

Phillips, 28, was also ordered to pay a $2,200 fine, was reduced in rank to seaman recruit and was given a bad-conduct discharge, said Lt. Cmdr. Bob Mehal, a public affairs officer for the Navy.

Phillips, who has been in the service since February 2000, worked with personnel records aboard the George Washington, which is stationed in Norfolk.

In a statement relayed by the public affairs office, the military prosecutor, Lt. Richard Federico, called the conviction and sentence a "fair and just result" for the victims.

"The message needs to go to the fleet that there are severe consequences if you misuse information you have access to," Federico said.

Baltimore County police have said the charges against Phillips are tied to an investigation into an area identity theft ring that also targeted at least five people who used Quest Diagnostics for medical lab testing.

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