Co-conspirator accused of stealing $ 470,000 from VA, Michigan Treasury | criminality
LANSING – Another suspect in a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Michigan Department of the Treasury over nearly half a million dollars has been formally charged, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced. last week.
The Attorney General’s execution operation was carried out in close collaboration with the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sophia J. Quill, 60, was arraigned before Judge Mark A. McConnell of the 18th Wayne County District Court for Zoom on Wednesday.
• One count of conduct of a criminal enterprise, a felony punishable by 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $ 100,000 and confiscation of the proceeds and objects used during the crime;
• Four counts of pretense of $ 50,000 to $ 100,000, a felony punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $ 25,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved. , whichever is greater;
• Two counts of pretense of $ 20,000 to $ 50,000, a felony punishable by 15 years in prison, a fine of $ 15,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved. , whichever is greater; and
• Two counts of pretense of $ 1,000 to $ 20,000, a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment, a fine of $ 10,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved. , whichever is greater.
She is charged with a fourth habitual offender, which means Quill faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on any of the charges.
Quill and his co-conspirator Melissa Flores, who was arrested last year, allegedly created pseudonyms and obtained or created fraudulent documents to make it appear that they were the heirs of various deceased people.
Between 2013 and 2019, it is alleged that Quill and Flores defrauded the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over $ 430,000 and the Michigan Department of the Treasury over $ 40,000. Quill’s son Steven Decker, who was also arraigned last year, allegedly received the proceeds of the scheme and allegedly used some of the money to conceal property used to commit the fraud.
“I said it after the first indictments and I will say it again: taking advantage of agencies that provide public benefits to our military personnel and their families is a slap in the face for the brave men and women who protect this country,” Nessel said. . “Let the months spent building and pursuing this case serve as a warning to anyone attempting to defraud our state or our federal agencies. It will not be tolerated.
Quill was not arraigned in Michigan last year with her co-defendants because she is out of state and COVID-19 has made extradition from Florida difficult. However, the Wayne County District Court was recently able to coordinate Quill’s remote indictment.
Justice McConnell set the bond at $ 10,000 in cash / surety and ordered that Quill has no contact with co-defendant Flores.
A probable causes conference is scheduled for April 29 and a preliminary review is scheduled for May 6, both on Zoom.