Florida jury convicts two men of stealing $1.8 million in veterans' and Social Security benefits
A jury in Florida convicted two men Tuesday for stealing over $1.8 million in veterans and social security benefits.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Omar Shaquille Bailey and Ronaldo Garfield Green were "found guilty for their role in a comprehensive scheme to defraud U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration."
During the trial, the jury heard testimony in which law enforcement officials detailed the extent of Bailey and Green's alleged crimes, which included illegally obtaining personal information such as social security numbers, dates of birth, and names of disabled veterans.
"According to evidence presented at trial, over the course of five years, from 2012 to 2017, members of the conspiracy attempted to redirect over $1.8 million in benefits from more than a hundred disabled veterans and Social Security beneficiaries," the Justice Department wrote in a statement. "Although several of these attempts were blocked, the defendants’ scheme resulted in the actual loss of nearly $1 million, money that was diverted from disabled veterans and Social Security beneficiaries. In each instance, the federal government reimbursed these victims for the full amounts of their stolen benefits."
Prosecutors accused the two defendants of forging documents that directed the federal government to deposit monetary benefits into fraudulent bank accounts.
“We remain vigilant in our efforts to defend and protect our disabled veterans and our elderly,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez. “This successful prosecution demonstrates that, despite recent challenges, our Office continues to prosecute anyone who targets vulnerable members of the community.”
Three other co-defendants already pled guilty in the scheme, and two others have not been apprehended.
Sentencing for Bailey and Green is expected in January.