News and Press Releases

Grand Jury Indicts 14 in Inland Empire on Charges of Defrauding Federal Government to Obtain Money and U.S. Passports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2013

RIVERSIDE, California – A federal grand jury has indicted 14 defendants on various fraud charges, including theft of government benefit funds and passport fraud.

Over the past two weeks, a federal grand jury issued indictments, with the final cases being filed yesterday afternoon. The grand jury has now returned 13 indictments, one of which charges two defendants.

Eleven of the 14 indicted defendants are charged with theft of government property. These defendants allegedly took and spent government benefit payments to which they knew they were not entitled. Some of these cases involve payments the government had issued to their deceased family members, while others concern payments made after the defendants made false statements to the government. The alleged false statements related to, among other things, identities, social security numbers, military service history, and employment or marital status.

The remaining three defendants are charged with making false statements to the Department of State to obtain United States passports. These false statements related to, among other things, the defendants’ identities, dates and places of birth, and social security numbers.

The 13 indictments are the result of a joint enforcement initiative by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

The 11 defendants charged with theft of government property in excess of $1,000 are:

Audrey Owens, 60, of Upland, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 24;

Sarah Rose, 57, of San Bernardino, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 24;

Michele King, 42, of San Bernardino, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 24;

James Cramer, 78, of Banning, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued;

Wilma Welsh, 82, of Perris, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 31;

Zandria Rhone, 61, of Riverside, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 31;

Thomas Fothergill, 73, of Perris, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 7;

Martin Munoz Villa, 42, of Riverside, who is also charged with aggravated identity theft and who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 7;

Josie Lee Anderson, 64, of San Bernardino, who is also charged with submitting a false written statement to a government agency and for whom an arrest warrant has been issued;

Walton Monagan, 70, of Hemet, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 7; and

Editha Pagdilao, 66, of Redlands, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 7.

All of the defendants who have received summons for arraignments have been directed to appear in United States District Court in Riverside.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the three defendants charged with passport fraud in connection with this initiative. Those three defendants are:

Nelida Alcauter, 36, of Temecula;

Maria Altemose, of Temecula; and

Angela Alicia Sanker, 56, of San Bernardino.

Indictments contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

Those convicted of theft of government property in excess of $1,000 or passport fraud face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Those convicted of submitting a false written statement to a federal agency face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison. Those convicted of aggravated identity theft face a statutory minimum, consecutive sentence of two years in federal prison.

Release No. 13-094

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