Woman Jailed for Stealing $470,000 From Veterans Program, State of Michigan
LANSING — A co-conspirator in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Michigan Treasury Department will spend two years in prison.
Melissa Flores will also have to pay $110,000 in restitution after sentencing before visiting Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Stevens on June 17.
Flores and his co-accused, Sophia Quill, allegedly created pseudonyms and obtained or created fraudulent documents to pretend they were the heirs of various deceased people.
Between 2013 and 2019, Quill and Flores are alleged to have defrauded the VA of more than $430,000 and the Michigan Treasury Department of more than $40,000 in unclaimed property.
Quill’s son, Steven Decker, was also charged in the scheme. His trial is scheduled for December.
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“My office will not tolerate attempts to take advantage of agencies that provide benefits to the public, especially our brave service members and their families,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “I am proud of the work done in our partner agencies to obtain this sentence against Ms. Flores.”
Flores pleaded guilty to false pretenses between $20,000 and $50,000, falsification of documents affecting real estate and false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000 in May 2021.
“Fraudulently obtaining benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs is wrong and diverts taxpayers’ money to provide for the needs of deserving veterans,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Billingsley of the Central Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Fighters.
The Quill case went to trial last year. However, on April 29, Judge Catherine Heise issued a warrant for Quill’s arrest after Quill failed to appear for a preliminary hearing.