LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – A suspect in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs and Michigan Department of Treasury out of nearly $500,000 will face trial.
The Attorney General’s enforcement operation was conducted in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General.
Sophia J. Quill, 60, waived preliminary exam in Wayne County’s 18th District Court. This means the case will move to circuit court for trial.
- one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a $100,000 fine and forfeiture of proceeds and items used during the crime;
- four counts of obtaining between $50,000 and $100,000 using a false pretense, a felony punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment and a $25,000 fine or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater;
- two counts of obtaining between $20,000 and $50,000 using a false pretense, a felony punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment and a $15,000 fine or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater; and
- two counts of obtaining between $1,000 and $20,000 using a false pretense, a felony punishable by five years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.
Quill is facing a maximum term of life imprisonment if convicted because she is being charged as a fourth habitual offender.
“I am glad to see this case move to trial,” Nessel said. “My office will not stand for attempts to take advantage of the agencies that offer benefits to the public, especially to our brave servicemembers and their families. There must be accountability.”
Quill and a co-defendant, Melissa Flores, allegedly created aliases and obtained or created fraudulent documents to appear as heirs to various individuals who died.
Quill and Flores allegedly defrauded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of more than $430,000 between 2013 and 2019. It is alleged that they also defrauded the Michigan Department of Treasury out of more than $40,000 during that same time. Quill’s son, Steven Decker, was arraigned las year and allegedly received proceeds from the scheme and used some of the money to conceal property used to conduct the fraud.
Quill’s arraignment in Wayne County Circuit Court is set for July 2, an exact time and judge is yet to be determined.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.