Family Members Convicted In Benefits Fraud Case
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A brother and sister have been convicted by a federal jury of multiple felony counts for using false identities to steal almost $300,000 in unemployment funds and other federal benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada. Two other family members were also convicted of fraud for their part in the scheme to unlawfully obtain unemployment compensation funds.
Frederick Vernon Williams, 35, his sister Jacqueline Louisa Gentle, 27, his wife, Denise Allison Williams, 36, and his other sister, Carolyn Shelmadine Willis-Casey, 40, all of Belize, were convicted on Friday, Jan. 15. The trial lasted for 10 days and was presided over by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan.
“The defendants used false identities and lied on passport applications to steal federal benefits from multiple agencies, including the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We will continue to use federal laws to prosecute benefits thieves who steal from all Americans through greed and fraud.”
Frederick Williams and Jacqueline Gentle were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, theft of government money, making a false statement in application for a passport, and making false citizenship claims. Gentle was also convicted of misuse of a U.S. passport and misuse of a social security number. Denise Williams and Carolyn Willis-Casey were each convicted of one count of mail fraud.
Frederick Williams faces up to 290 years in prison, plus two to four years consecutive for the two aggravated identity theft counts, and not more than $4.75 million in fines. Gentle faces up to 83 years in prison, plus two years consecutive for the aggravated identity theft count, and not more than $2 million in fines. Denise Williams and Willis-Casey face up to 20 years in prison and not more than $250,000 in fines. They are scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
According to the court records and evidence submitted at trial, from about August 2010 to June 2012, defendants Frederick Williams and Jacqueline Gentle, citizens of Belize, conspired to register two fictitious companies, Luna Consulting and Centro America Export, with the State of Nevada, Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR). After the companies were registered with DETR, the defendants conspired to submit fraudulent wage information for 16 fictitious employees, including themselves. After submitting the fraudulent wage information, the defendants submitted fraudulent unemployment compensation claims to DETR, and obtained unemployment compensation payments totaling approximately $218,000. The unemployment compensation payments were transferred to the defendants by means of Nevada debit cards mailed to the fictitious employees, which the defendants and co-defendants used to withdraw cash from ATM’s.
Frederick Williams and Gentle also made false statements in applications for U.S. passports by stating that their father was a U.S. citizen and by stating in other government paperwork that they were U.S. citizens, when they well knew that they were not citizens of the United States but were citizens of Belize.
Frederick Williams and Gentle also falsely stated that they were U.S. citizens in applications for other government benefit programs such as social security, federal student aid (Pell grants), food stamps, and Medicaid. Williams was able to fraudulently obtain approximately $33,184 in social security benefits, $10,900 in Pell grants, $33,814 in food stamp benefits, and $1,132 in Medicaid benefits.
Denise Williams fraudulently caused DETR to pay unemployment benefits in her name, and Carolyn Willis-Casey caused a notice for payment of unemployment benefits to be sent to her.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the Offices of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Damm.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.