Co-conspirator to face trial in defrauding scheme involving VA, Michigan Treasury
LANSING – A suspect in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Michigan Department of Treasury out of nearly half a million dollars will face trial, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
The Attorney General’s enforcement operation was conducted in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General.
Earlier today, Sophia J. Quill, 60, waived preliminary exam in Wayne County’s 18th District Court, meaning 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 charged as a fourth habitual offender, meaning she is facing a maximum term of life imprisonment if convicted of any of the charges.
“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 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 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) out of more than $430,000 and the Michigan Department of Treasury out of more than $40,000. Quill’s son Steven Decker, who was also arraigned last year, allegedly received proceeds from the scheme and used some of the money to conceal property used to conduct the fraud.
Quill’s Wayne County Circuit Court arraignment is set for July 2. An exact time and judge has not yet been assigned.