Man Arrested For Defrauding The United States Army Reserve
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On February 5, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a seven count indictment against Pedro A. Rodríguez-Colondres for wire fraud, false statement in application and use of passport, identity theft, aggravated identity theft, and false statement to a Department or Agency of the United States, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
Beginning in or about May 1984 and continuing through in or about October 2011 the defendant devised a scheme and artifice to defraud and for obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses and representations, that is by knowingly enlisting in the United States Army Reserve under the assumed name of Pedro Colondres-Rosa and then being discharged under this name; and then applying for and receiving benefits granted under the assumed name.
Rodríguez-Colondres received veteran’s benefits from the Veteran’s Administration from 1984; until 2011 under an assumed identity. The defendant enlisted in the US Army Reserve on April 26, 1974, and was discharged from the US Army Reserve on November 20, 1974. His discharge letter dated November 20, 1974 states, “You lack the motivation to become a productive soldier. You speak no English and have a great deal of trouble adapting to the Army. You lack the stamina to complete road marches. You are requesting this discharge and this would be to your and the Army’s advantage.” The letter also informed him that he would be ineligible for reenlistment.
On September 14, 1977, the defendant fraudulently enlisted using the name Pedro Colondres-Rosa. He was subsequently medically discharged for temporary disability on May 17, 1978. On May 22, 1978, the defendant completed a VA FORM 21526E applying for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration.
Rodríguez-Colondres devised a scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs by claiming to be entitled to benefits that he was in fact not entitled to. The defendant claimed to be Pedro Colondres-Rosa, when in truth and in fact, he was Pedro A. Rodriguez-Colondres. He then enlisted in the United States Army under this assumed identity and completed eight months and two days of active service. After the defendant was medically discharged, he and his wife applied for veteran’s benefits listing his service under the assumed identity of Pedro Colondres-Rosa.
The indictment lists 169 payments, a portion of the benefits he received illegally between the years 1997 to 2011 totaling $424,281.36. Also, the indictment shows the medical benefits the defendant received illegally between the years 2000-2011 totaling $81,984.00, and dependent educational benefits totaling $44,584.56.
The defendant was arrested today by agents from the US Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Veteran’s Administration, who are in charge of the investigation. Rodríguez-Colondres appeared before US Magistrate Judge Camille L. Vélez-Rivé and was granted bail until the arraignment.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years imprisonment, two consecutive years for the aggravated identity theft charge, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Baggé.