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Press Release

Rossi Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay More than $3 Million for Scheme to Defraud Former Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. – A Morton, Illinois, man, Aaron J. Rossi, 41, was sentenced on July 2, 2024, to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution and fines for his scheme to defraud his former employer and filing of false income taxes.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment in March 2022, charging Rossi with three counts of filing false tax returns. A superseding indictment adding six counts of mail fraud for a fraud committed against his former employer, was returned in July 2022. Rossi entered into a plea agreement in February 2024, in which he pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return and one count of mail fraud. The remaining seven counts were dismissed.

At the sentencing hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow, the government presented evidence that Rossi had engaged in a practice of lying and deceiving others for his own benefit from the outset of his former employment at Central Illinois Orthopedic Surgery (“CIOS”) through the entirety of the court proceedings on these charges. The government demonstrated how Rossi had spent years lying to his employer while stealing money and then, simultaneously, providing false information on his tax returns. Rossi admitted that he had taken funds from CIOS without its knowledge or permission and had purchased personal items and services with the funds. Among other expenditures, he used the funds to purchase a home theater system, lease a luxury vehicle, and rent a private jet for his bachelor party. Further, the government demonstrated that Rossi’s scheme included falsely representing himself to others, including patients, as a doctor even though he was not a licensed physician and not authorized to practice medicine. He also wrote 29 counterfeit prescriptions, one of which was falsely written in the name of a third party who, as a result, was denied entry into a cancer trial.

In imposing sentence, Judge Darrow noted that Rossi’s theft served no purpose other than his own greed and desire. She stated that he was already legally receiving a handsome salary from his former employer but stole from them to further his lifestyle. She explained that he did not use the money for necessities, or even things that were “nice to have” but rather for items that were luxuries. She further discussed Rossi’s betrayal of his former employer and his theft from innocent people who had done nothing wrong at all but instead trusted Rossi, befriended him, and offered to mentor him. Judge Darrow described that betrayal and Rossi’s squandering of opportunity and his talents as a shame.

Judge Darrow ultimately found that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines did not fully capture the scope of Rossi’s fraud. As a result, she sentenced him to 60 months in the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by a two-year term of supervised release; imposed a fine of $1,000,000, and ordered him to pay full restitution in an amount of more than $2.2 million dollars to his former employer as well as taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Illinois’ Department of Revenue.

Rossi was originally released on bond following indictment, but his bond was revoked, and he was placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service in September 2023 after multiple bond violations. He had remained in custody pending sentencing.

Rossi faced statutory penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to a three-year term of supervised release for the mail fraud, and up to 3 years’ imprisonment and up to a one-year term of supervised release for the false tax return count. Each of the counts also carried a potential fine.

“This sentence highlights the tireless effort and commitment of the investigative agencies and prosecutors who seek justice against those who commit this type of fraud.” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “Crimes such as these continue to cost employers and taxpayers billions of dollars each year. My office will maintain its fight to protect the citizens in Central Illinois from this fraudulent conduct.”

“The sentencing of Aaron Rossi sends a clear message that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who use the U.S. Mail to line their pockets. We are dedicated to defending the nation’s mail system from criminal activity and preserving the integrity of the U.S. Mail.  We value our law enforcement partners and their support of our mission,” said Ruth Mendonça, Inspector in Charge of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which includes Peoria, Illinois.

“This sentencing sends a clear message that deceit, and theft—especially in times of crisis—will not go unpunished,” said Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “Aaron Rossi shamelessly stole from his employer, the State of Illinois, and the American public for his own personal gain during a time when many people were struggling. IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our commitment to holding individuals like Rossi accountable while ensuring that justice is served.”

The case investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office also provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas F. McMeyer and Tanner K. Jacobs represented the government in the prosecution.

Updated July 8, 2024

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