A married couple in Texas, with partners who are both former U.S. Army sergeants, is at the center of an alleged scheme to defraud the federal government out of millions of dollars. Federal agents say that the couple obtained personal data from soldiers and then used the information to illegally obtain between $2.3 million and $11.3 million from a federal transportation reimbursement program. Investigators say they have discovered evidence suggesting that the couple committed crimes including money laundering, identity theft and fraud, but court papers reveal that no charges have been filed against them.
Federal agents seize vehicles and cash
The actions taken so far by investigators suggest that the couple could soon be charged. According to media reports, federal agents obtained warrants to search the couple’s Killeen home and seize the contents of 10 bank accounts. When investigators arrived at the residence, they are said to have seized 23 cars, SUVs and trucks along with jewelry, clothing and other items. Federal agents also took possession of several documents, cellphones and computer drives.
A lucrative scheme that lasted for years
Investigators say that the couple began offering rides to soldiers stationed at Fort Brag in 2010 as part of a government program that was designed to reduce carbon emissions by promoting ride-sharing and mass transit. The couple allegedly defrauded the program by enrolling soldiers without their knowledge or consent. Some of the soldiers involved were not even stationed at Fort Bragg according to court documents. The couple is said to have obtained details about the soldiers from personnel records they had access to. The couple allegedly used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included real estate in New York, Washington, Texas and Hawaii.
Mounting a defense against fraud charges
U.S. attorneys tend to pursue white-collar crime cases with particular zeal when a federal program is involved. If you are accused of committing fraud or being investigated in connection with alleged fraud, an experienced criminal law attorney may be able to mount a defense on your behalf. If the evidence against you is strong and getting the charges overturned is unlikely to be successful, an attorney might suggest entering into plea discussions and negotiating a reduced sentence.