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Case Number: 6:20-cr-00092-JDK-JDL
Judge: Keremy D. Kernodle
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Smith County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Tyler, TX: Elder wire fraud criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Monica Ruiz, age 45, who enlisted a variety of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises in a scheme to defraud an elderly victim from Bullard, Texas. Among the various misrepresentations Ruiz made in order to obtain money from the victim were the following:
- That Ruiz had been in a coma;
- That Ruiz had brain surgery;
- That Ruiz was falsely arrested and imprisoned;
- That Ruiz had bribed a judge and prosecutor;
- That Ruiz’s son died in a car accident in Pennsylvania;
- That Ruiz was in a car accident;
- That Ruiz had a kidney transplant;
- That Ruiz’s daughter was committed to a mental institution;
- That Ruiz was incarcerated; and
- That Ruiz’s grandmother died.
At times, Ruiz impersonated other people in communications with the victim. At other times, she created and used false personas in communications with the victim. Over the course of her scheme, Ruiz obtained more than $4.85 million from the victim.
Ruiz was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 19, 2020.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Tyler Police Department and the Louisiana State Police – Gaming Enforcement Division and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, $4,851,971 restitution, $100 special assessment, fine and interest waived.