An Atlantic County woman is accused of defrauding elderly victims while they were mourning the loss of recently deceased loved ones.
Victoria Crosby, 44, was part of a ring that targeted people, many of them 70 or older, after a death in the victim’s family, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
One victim was contacted just two days after her husband’s death, a criminal complaint said. She lost about $10,000 to the scam.
Crosby is charged with wire fraud, concealing information affecting a continued right to payment by the SSA, health care fraud and making a false statement, representation or document to HUD.
Crosby is also charged with fraudulently obtaining money from elderly victims and not advising the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of the substantial amount of money she earned from the scheme.
According to Honig, documents filed in this case and statements made in court Crosby and her co-conspirators used prepaid cellular phones to contact victims whose spouses or other family members had recently died. Many of the victims were 70 or older.
Crosby and the others used fictitious names and purported to be employees of either a retirement benefit office or a life insurance company.
They told the victims that life insurance policies, obtained by their deceased family member and for which they were the beneficiary, were in arrears and that to correct the underpayment, victims needed to pay thousands of dollars.
Victims were instructed to purchase prepaid cards at various retailers and provide the caller with the 10-digit codes on the back. After obtaining the prepaid card information, Crosby and others loaded the money into accounts they controlled.
According to video surveillance footage obtained by law enforcement officials, Crosby withdrew victim funds from various ATMs in New Jersey.
At the time that Crosby was involved in the fraud scheme, she was receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the SSA and Medicaid.
Crosby was also living in public housing in Atlantic City and receiving housing assistance through HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Program. Between January 2020 and December 2020, Crosby received $110,380 into her bank account.
Had SSA or HUD been aware of her income, Crosby would have been ineligible for SSI, Medicaid, or HUD benefits.
The counts of wire fraud and health care fraud each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. The count of concealing any event affecting continued right to payment by the SSA and making false statements to HUD each carry a maximum of five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.