Two women are accused of creating aliases for themselves and becoming fake heirs to people who died so they could steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Veterans Affairs and Michigan Treasury, officials said.
PREVIOUS REPORT: 3 accused of stealing $470k by defrauding VA, Michigan Treasury
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Sophia Quill, 60, and co-conspirator Melissa Flores, 53, created aliases and obtained or created fake documents to make it appear that they were heirs to various people who died.
Between 2013 and 2019, Quill and Flores defrauded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of more than $430,000, according to authorities. They defrauded the Michigan Department of Treasury out of more than $40,000, officials said.
Quill’s son, Steven Decker, is accused of receiving proceeds and using some o the money to hide property used to conduct the scheme.
Decker and Florida were arraigned last year. Quill was arraigned Wednesday via Zoom at the Wayne County 18th District Court.
She is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise, four counts of false pretenses between $50,000-$100,000, two counts of false pretenses between $20,000-$50,000 and two counts of false pretenses between $1,000-$20,000.
The criminal enterprise charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The first six counts of false pretenses are punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and the final two counts of false pretenses are punishable by up to five years in prison.
All nine charges are felonies. Quill is being charged as a fourth habitual offender, so she’s facing a maximum of life in prison, if convicted on any of the charges, according to officials.
“I said it after the first arraignments and I’ll say it again: Taking advantage of agencies that offer public benefits for our service members and their families is a slap in the face to the brave men and women who protect this country,” Nessel said. “Let the months spent building and prosecuting this case serve as a warning to anyone trying to defraud our state or federal agencies. It will not be tolerated.”
Quill wasn’t arraigned in Michigan last year because she’s from Florida and COVID-19 made extradition difficult, officials said.
Her bond is set at $10,000. She is not allowed to have contact with Flores if bond is posted.
A probable cause conference is scheduled for April 29, and a preliminary examination is scheduled for May 6.