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‘Reprehensible’ -- Woman sentenced for defrauding VA, Michigan Treasury

(Photo by Rissa Shaw)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One of the accused co-conspirators in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Michigan Department of Treasury will spend two years in prison, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday.

Wayne County Circuit Court Visiting Judge Cynthia Stevens sentenced Melissa Flores to 24 months’ imprisonment and ordered her to pay $110,000 restitution.

Department of Veterans Affairs Special Agent Gregory Billingsley investigated the case.

“Fraudulently obtaining benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs is reprehensible and takes taxpayer dollars away from providing for deserving veterans,” Billingsley said.

Flores pleaded guilty last May to the following:

  • 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.

Flores, along with co-defendant Sophia Quill, are alleged to have created aliases and obtained or created fraudulent documents to make it appear that they were heirs to various individuals who died. Between 2013 and 2019, it is alleged that Quill and Flores defrauded the VA out of more than $430,000 and the Michigan Department of Treasury out of more than $40,000 in unclaimed property.

“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,” said Nessel. “I’m proud of the work done across our partner agencies to secure this sentence against Ms. Flores.”

Quill’s son, Steven Decker, was also charged in relation to the incident. His trial is set for December 2022.

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