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Press Release

Killeen Couple Sentenced for Operating Fraudulent Rideshare Company for Soldiers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

WACO, Texas – A Killeen man and his wife were sentenced in a federal court in Waco for defrauding a Department of the Army transportation program by using the illegally obtained personally identifiable information (PII) of more than 800 soldiers.

According to court documents, Kevin Romulus Pelayo, 45, co-owned and operated a rideshare company, Soldiers Vanpools LLC, with his wife, Cristine Furio Fredericks, 40. The company claimed to shuttle military personnel to and from Fort Hood, now known as Fort Cavazos, from Jan. 1, 2014 through June 10, 2020. Soldiers Vanpools LLC was funded by the Department of the Army’s Mass Transportation Benefit Program (MTBP).

Pelayo and Fredericks submitted the names, social security numbers, and other identifying information of active duty soldiers to the MTBP on a monthly basis from 2014 to midway through 2020, falsely claiming that the soldiers were active participants in the rideshare program.

The couple also purchased vans, SUVs and other vehicles in order to convince the MTBP that they were operating a legitimate business and transporting the riders they claimed in their scheme. Additionally, the couple spent a large portion of the millions of dollars in funds they received on real estate, personal vehicles, and other property. In total, Pelayo and Fredericks purchased 43 vehicles, 129 luxury purses and jewelry items, and 12 real properties in Bell County and Coryell County.

Pelayo was sentenced to 36 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property. Fredericks was sentenced to five years of probation for two counts engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation and the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff prosecuted the case.


Updated June 11, 2024

Financial Fraud