A former program analyst for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be spending time in prison for stealing personal information of veterans and federal employees and attempting to sell it on the black market.
According to an announcement from the Justice Department, Phillip Hill was an employee at the North Little Rock VA Medical Center and had access to veterans’ and current VA federal employees’ personal information to include names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.
Federal agents learned of the situation in the fall of 2017 and discovered that Hill had contacted another individual in an attempt to sell personal identifying information to a buyer for approximately $100,000.
Hill said that he was offering to sell personal information for any veteran that had received VA compensation or a pension, visited a VA medical center, or had completed a VA financial assessment. VA employees were up for sale as well, and Hill said that the data from federal employees at the agency would be particularly valuable for identity thieves since it would include personal account information for employees earning over $50,000 per year.
The conversations that Hill had with this individual were recorded and monitored by federal agents. Throughout one monitored conversation, Hill repeatedly acknowledged the illegality of his conduct.
Hill was arrested on December 17, 2017 at the VA Regional Office. His phone was then searched as part of an investigation, and records found on the phone indicated that a VA database spreadsheet containing personal information had been loaded onto Hill’s Google drive account had been accessed by Hill on his phone days prior to his arrest.
Hill was indicted for attempted trafficking in access devices, aggravated identity theft, and possession of access device-making equipment, and he pleaded guilty in September 2019 to attempted trafficking in access devices in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges.
Hill was sentenced to 46 months in prison and two years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.
“This defendant took advantage of his position of trust within the VA healthcare system,” stated Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “His fraudulent scheme had the potential to create financial chaos for those whose information he stole. This sentence demonstrates our office’s commitment to prosecuting those who would defraud the heroes who have served our country.”