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South Bend attorney sentenced for fraud

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Thomas F. “Chip” Lewis III will spend more than three years in prison following his guilty plea to aiding and abetting wire fraud stemming from an advance fee scam.

Judge Robert Miller Jr. in the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, sentenced Lewis Tuesday to 42 months in prison, with three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term. Lewis pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud in August.

Lewis was involved in a fee scam with Byron Canada for more than five years in which Lewis would vouch for Canada and his companies. Canada promised to provide loans and financing in exchange for up-front or advanced fees, but he didn’t follow through. Lewis knew that Canada didn’t provide the loans and previously had been convicted of fraud.

Canada was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison in December 2010 after pleading guilty to a 31-count indictment in March 2010.

As part of his plea agreement, Lewis will pay $1.5 million in restitution to 21 victims. According to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys, Lewis was admitted to practice in March 1996 and has no disciplinary history. The Roll of Attorneys says he works at the South Bend office of Lewis & Wilkins, but the firm's website does not list him as an attorney.
 

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