Leesburg Men Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Life Insurance Benefits
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – James C. Cilenti, 47, and Christopher Agresto, 36, both of Leesburg, Va., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering. Cilenti was also indicted on five additional counts of money laundering, two counts of Social Security related fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
The maximum penalties for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and each count of wire fraud are 20 years and each count of money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. The Social Security counts each carry a maximum sentence of five years, and aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two year sentence, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
According to the indictment, Cilenti and Agresto allegedly conspired to defraud USAA Life Insurance Company in San Antonio, Texas, out of the proceeds of a $500,000 life insurance policy on the life of Cilenti’s wife. Although he was the primary beneficiary under the policy, because the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department had identified Cilenti as a person of interest in his wife’s death, USAA declined to pay the proceeds to him. His then minor daughter, Lauren Cilenti, was the contingent beneficiary.
The indictment alleges that Cilenti and Agresto, a Leesburg attorney, created a trust for the benefit of Lauren with Agresto as the grantor and trustee, and by representing to USAA that Cilenti would neither have control of, access to nor benefit from the trust assets, induced USAA to pay the proceeds of the policy to a checking account that Cilenti set up for the trust. Within a week of USAA wiring $507,000 to the trust account, Agresto is accused of writing checks for $300,000 and $100,000 to Cilenti, who deposited them in his business account, and over the next five weeks Agresto wrote additional checks to Cilenti or made wire transfers totaling $40,000 from the trust account, all of which went into Cilenti’s business account. Less than three months after receiving his first check for $300,000, Cilenti allegedly spent almost all the funds that had been wired by USAA into Lauren’s trust account, very little if any of which benefited his daughter.
In addition, Cilenti applied for Social Security Administration survivor death benefits on behalf of Lauren Cilenti, allegedly forged her signature and used her Social Security Number without her knowledge or permission on a document material to the payment of those benefits, and then converted to his own use and benefit approximately $7,600 in survivor payments made to him on her behalf.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Uzo Asonye and Michael Rich are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.