RENO, Nev. – Peter Lucas, 35, of Reno, pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of surgical masks from a supply cart at the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center in Reno, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.
Lucas pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge William G. Cobb to an information charging one count of theft in connection with health care. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 9, 2020.
According to court documents and statements in open court, between March 19 and March 23, 2020, Lucas stole at least four boxes of surgical masks from the VA Medical Center. Officers of the Veterans Affairs Police Department obtained security footage that showed Lucas taking the boxes of surgical masks and concealing them under his clothes before exiting the building. Each box contained 50 masks. Lucas had been a compensated member of the Veteran Affairs’ work therapy program, which helps train, match, and support veterans for competitive jobs and to consult with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs.
The maximum statutory penalty for theft in connection with health care is one year in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the Court, based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is a product of an investigation by the VA Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Walkingshaw is prosecuting this case.
The public is urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. For information about the Department of Justice’s efforts to stop COVID-19 fraud, visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, you may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO websites.