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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Former Federal Reserve Employee Charged With Wire Fraud In Connection With Alleged Disability Fraud Scheme

Defendant Allegedly Received Disability Payments While Concealing Lucrative Employment

SAN FRANCISCO – Lawrence Rufrano has been charged in a criminal complaint alleging wire fraud, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson; Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (FRB OIG) Special Agent in Charge John T. Perez; and Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Robb Stickley. Rufano made an initial federal court appearance today before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, Rufrano, 66, of Brisbane, is an attorney who was employed as a Senior Supervisory Financial Analyst at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  Rufrano left his employment due to a purported long-term disability that prevented him from working, and he collected long term disability payments from the Federal Reserve System from approximately January 2014 until March 2019.  In October 2014, Rufrano applied for, and was awarded, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.  While he was collecting disability benefits, Rufrano claimed that his condition was deteriorating, that he was not working, and that could not hold even a menial job. 

The FRB OIG initiated this investigation after receiving information that Rufrano had a significant internet presence indicating that he held undisclosed employment.  While he was collecting disability benefits, Rufrano had an obligation to report any employment to both the Social Security Administration and the Federal Reserve System.  The complaint alleges that he did not do so.  Instead, starting in December 2015, Rufrano concealed employment with three companies, two law firms, and a university.  According to the complaint, one of the law firms paid Rufrano a flat fee of $18,750 per month for his services.  The subsequent law firm paid him $175,000 a year.

Rufrano is charged with wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.  If convicted, he will face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero ordered Rufrano released on a $25,000 bond. His next scheduled appearance is on November 30, 2020, at 10:30 a.m., for a status conference. 
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are mere allegations.  As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Christopher Vieira is the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Alice Pai.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated October 28, 2020