According to the Department of Justice, a 29-year-old Georgia man who redirected the benefits of veterans and social security beneficiaries to accounts that his co-conspirators set up and controlled has been sentenced to 78 months in prison by a South Florida federal district judge. In addition, the man must pay more than $900,000 in restitution to his victims.
Defendant Ronaldo Green was a member of a conspiracy that obtained the personal information (including names, dates of birth and social security numbers) of disabled veterans and social security beneficiaries. The co-conspirators used this information to fraudulently open bank accounts and prepaid debit cards in the victims’ names. They also forged documents in the victims’ names that directed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration to deposit benefit payments into those fraudulent accounts, instead of the victims’ legitimate bank accounts. Green and his co-conspirators withdrew the diverted money from ATMs and banks in South Florida and Georgia. They used it on personal expenses. Much of the money was ultimately funneled to architects of the scheme, located in Jamaica.
From 2012 to 2017, members of the conspiracy attempted to redirect over $1.8 million in benefits from more than 100 disabled veterans and social security beneficiaries. Although several of the attempts failed, the defendants’ actually stole more than $1 million. The victims have been reimbursed for their losses.
Green’s co-defendants, Omar Bailey and Jamare Mason, were sentenced during prior hearings. Bailey received 24 months’ imprisonment. Mason received 78 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution. U.S. District Judge James Cohn, who sits in Ft. Lauderdale, imposed the sentences.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; David Spilker, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General’s (VA-OIG) Southeast Field Office; and Rodregas Owens, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), made the announcement.
U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez commended the investigative efforts of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, including partners from VA-OIG, SSA-OIG, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Homeland Security Investigations.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lois Foster-Steers and Sajjad Matin.
Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. The mission of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors. To learn more visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. The public is encouraged to report suspected elder victimization and fraud by visiting https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/roadmap or calling the victim connect hotline at 1-855-484-2846.