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Shreveport woman pleads guilty in $4.8 million elder fraud scheme

Justice
Posted at 2:51 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 15:51:48-04

BULLARD, TX — A Shreveport woman plead guilty in federal court Thursday for her role in an elder fraud scheme in Texas.

Monica Ruiz, 45, pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love in the Easter District of Texas.

“Schemes that target elderly victims are particularly troubling,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei in a release. “Ruiz manipulated a vulnerable victim, exploited his trust, and stole much of his hard-earned life savings. Protecting senior citizens from exploitation has been, and will remain, a priority in the Eastern District.”

According to information presented in court, Ruiz 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, the release states. 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.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Ruiz with federal violations on Nov. 19, 2020. Under federal statutes, Ruiz faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being 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.

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