Crime - Sacto 911

West Sacramento man charged with defrauding Social Security of more than $480,000

A West Sacramento man was indicted by the Department of Justice for conspiracy and a scheme to defraud the government, according to a news release from U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor W. Scott.

Eric LeMoyne Willis, 43, was initially indicted in December of 2018 with co-conspirator Darron Dimitri Ross, 33, of Charlotte, North Carolina. Willis pleaded guilty in June to charges in the original indictment, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft, according to the release.

Court documents allege Willis, Ross and Joshua Bilal George, 36, of San Diego, conspired to defraud the Social Security Administration. Willis used his position as an SSA employee to access the Social Security records of beneficiaries, prosecutors said. He then sent the beneficiaries’ personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, and social security numbers, to Ross and George, prosecutors said.

Ross and George then used the information to impersonate beneficiaries and convinced SSA representatives to change direct deposit numbers to fraudulent accounts, prosecutors said. The conspirators had an estimated 44 online bank accounts under fraudulent identities, according to the release.

The SSA identified at least 160 beneficiaries who were the victims of these crimes, and the total fraud loss suffered by the SSA exceeded $480,000, according to the release.

Ross and George face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of wire fraud, the release said. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, they face a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, following any other sentence. The maximum sentence for theft of private property is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum sentence for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.