Charleston Man Hit with Federal Charges for Drink Refill

N. Charleston Resident Faces Federal Charges of Theft for $0.89 Drink Refill

federal chargesA North Charleston man working as a construction worker at a federal building has been hit with federal charges for theft of property after unintentionally neglecting to pay for his $0.89 drink refill.

While Christopher Lewis was working on-site at the VA Medical Center in Downtown Charleston, he went on his lunch break and decided to grab a drink refill. However, he did not realize that refills were not free, and now faces federal charges for “theft of government property,” according to a hospital spokesperson.

“Every time I look at the ticket, it’s unbelievable to me,” says Lewis, who works construction. “I can’t fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525.”

The spokesperson for the VA Hospital said that there are clear signs around the cafeteria stating that drink refills are not free. Lewis said he simply did not notice the signs, and admitted that he had refilled his drink without paying on other occasions.

“As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him I wasn’t aware that I had to pay for that.”

Lewis added that he attempted to pay for the drink refill at the time, but was not given the option. Instead, he was escorted off the property and handed a $525 ticket for shoplifting. He was asked not to return to the hospital, and is now out of a job. “I’m done there, at the VA hospital. I’m not allowed to go on the premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises.”

The spokesperson for the VA said that there were reports that Lewis was aggressive during the confrontation. The hospital released the following statement regarding the federal charges:

“The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is fortunate to have a highly trained Federal police force to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and employees. As Federal police they are responsible for enforcing the law. Today a Federal citation was issued for shoplifting in the VA cafeteria to an individual who stated to VA police he had not paid for refills of beverages on multiple occasions, even though signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons refills are not free. Shoplifting is a crime. The dollar amount of the ticket is not determined by VA as it is a Federal citation. The citation may be paid or the recipient may choose to appear in Federal court to contest it.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Felony Theft, Wire Fraud, Grand Larceny, and Other Federal Charges

Our federal criminal defense lawyers handle cases involving:

  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Bond issuances and investment schemes
  • Falsifying loan applications
  • Check fraud schemes
  • Bribes or kickbacks
  • False advertising or misrepresentation in sales transactions
  • making a false statement to a loan officer or bank official
  • deceiving a bank
  • falsifying loan documents
  • check fraud
  • forging check signatures
  • ATM fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • And other federal charges.

The Strom Law Firm, LLC has the experience that you need to defend your federal charges, whether you are charged with felony theft, grand larceny, embezzlement, kickbacks, or murder-for-hire.  Founded by former U.S. Attorney and assistant solicitor, Pete Strom, our experienced criminal defense attorneys include a former public defender, and a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor, as well as a tax lawyer familiar with IRS investigations.  Our experience and familiarity with prosecutorial techniques provide the basis for experienced and effective legal representation. We will fight hard to have your charges reduced, or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case as well the most effective way to proceed with your case. 803.2523.4800

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