A woman has been sentenced after she created aliases for herself in order to become the fake heir to people who died so she could steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Veterans Affairs and Michigan Treasury, officials said.
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 as if 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.
Flores pleaded guilty in May 2021 to two counts of false pretenses between $20,000 and $50,000, one count of forgery of documents affecting real property, and four counts of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000.
She was sentenced Friday (June 24) to 24 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay $110,000 in restitution.
“My office will not stand for attempts to take advantage of the agencies that offer benefits to the public, especially to our brave service members and their families,” Nessel said. “I’m proud of the work done across our partner agencies to secure this sentence against Ms. Flores.”
Quill was 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.
She was bound over for trial last year, but on April 29, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest because she failed to show up to a pretrial hearing, authorities said.
Quill’s son, Steven Decker, is accused of receiving proceeds and using some of the money to hide property used to conduct the scheme. His trial is set for December 2022.