Man Charged with Defrauding Retiree Out of Her Retirement Savings
U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Michael Jerome Atkins, 60, was arraigned today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt, in Fort Lauderdale, on mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.
According to allegations in the indictment, between July 2015 and October 2015, Atkins devised a scheme to defraud the victim of her entire retirement savings, totalling over $400,000. Atkins promised the victim that if she loaned him her retirement savings he would use it for his business, All Points Aviation and Associates, LLC and would repay her the money within two months. The disbursement checks were made jointly payable to Atkins’ business All Points Aviation and Associates LLC and the victim, who was to cosign the checks. The funds were disbursed in three installments. With respect to the third installment check, which was the largest, and was drawn in the amount of $317,916.02, the indictment alleges that Atkins forged the victim’s signature and deposited the funds into his business account - which he controlled. The indictment further alleges that Atkins used the funds for his personal benefit and did not repay the funds to the victim.
An indictment is a charging instrument containing accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, beyond a reasonable double, in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers.
Since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. In particular, this past March the Department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history, charging more than 260 defendants in a nationwide elder fraud sweep. The Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act.