Las Vegas, Nevada Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Million Dollar Scheme Targeting Thousands of U.S. Servicemembers and Veterans
In San Antonio, 38-year-old Fredrick Brown, a former civilian medical records administrator for the U.S. Army at the 65th Medical Brigade, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, admitted his role in an identity-theft and fraud scheme that victimized thousands of U.S. servicemembers and veterans, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Morrell, and Director Gustav Eyler of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch.
Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer yesterday, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. By pleading guilty, Brown admitted that from July 2014 to September 2015, he stole personal identifying information (PII) of thousands of military members, including names, social security numbers, DOD ID numbers, dates of birth, and contact information. Brown admitted to capturing the PII by taking digital photographs of his computer screen while he was logged into the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application. Brown further admitted that he subsequently provided that stolen data to co-defendant Robert Wayne Boling, Jr. so that Boling and others could exploit the information in various ways to access Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefits sites and steal millions of dollars.
Brown faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each conspiracy charge. He remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing scheduled for 10:30am on February 6, 2020, before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio.
As asserted in the indictment, Boling (U.S. citizen), together with his Philippines-based co-defendants Allan Albert Kerr (Australian citizen) and Jongmin Seok (South Korean citizen), specifically used the stolen information to compromise a Department of Defense portal designed to enable military members to access benefits information online. Once through the portal, the defendants are alleged to have accessed benefits information. Access to these detailed records enabled the defendants to steal or attempt to steal millions of dollars from military members’ bank accounts. The defendants also stole veterans’ benefits payments. After the defendants had compromised military members’ bank accounts and veterans’ benefits payments, Boling allegedly worked with co-defendant Trorice Crawford to recruit individuals who would accept the deposit of stolen funds into their bank accounts and then send the funds through international wire remittance services to the defendants and others. Evidence of the defendants’ scheme was detected earlier this year, advancing the investigation that led to the indictment.
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are coordinating with the Department of Justice to notify and provide resources to the thousands of identified victims. Announcements also will follow regarding steps taken to secure military members’ information and benefits from theft and fraud.
Boling, Crawford, Kerr and Seok are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Crawford remains in federal custody pending resolution of this litigation. Boling, Kerr and Seok are in custody in the Philippines awaiting transfer to the Western District of Texas.
It is important to note that an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The United States is represented by Trial Attorneys Ehren Reynolds and Yolanda McCray Jones of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Blackwell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas. The matter was investigated by agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and counsel Matthew Freund, along with substantial investigative support from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Benefits Protection and Remediation Division. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Philippine law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the District of Nevada, the Southern District of California, and the Eastern District of Virginia also provided assistance. Resources from the Department of Justice’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative and its Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force aided in the matter’s investigation and prosecution.
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.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx. Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice; information on the Servicemember and Veterans Initiative is at https://www.justice.gov/servicemembers.