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Individual Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for a 1.2 Million Dollar Fraud Scheme Involving the Creation of Fictitious Employees and the Misuse of Social Security Numbers

May 22, 2023

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Puerto Rico:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – United States District Court Judge Pedro A. Delgado sentenced Gilberto J. Meléndez-Colón to two years and three months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,396,008.47. Meléndez-Colón pleaded guilty on January 31, 2023. Co-defendant Ángel Pagán was sentenced to five years of probation for unlawful disclosure of his social security number.

According to court documents, Meléndez-Colón conspired to defraud Company A, a local family business engaged in short and long-term construction and improvement projects. From January 2012 through July 2017, Meléndez-Colón served as the Accounting Officer in charge of Company A’s payroll. Meléndez-Colón created profiles and accounts for two fictitious employees in the company’s Web Cash Manager Program. Meléndez-Colón used two individuals’ names and social security numbers, including co-defendant ngel Pagán, to create fictitious employee profiles in the company’s Web Cash Manager Program. While creating the fictitious employee profiles, Meléndez-Colón listed his own bank account numbers to receive direct deposits for the payroll of the fictitious employees.

Meléndez-Colón also altered the company’s payroll information by falsely increasing the hours worked by regular employees. Meléndez-Colón would then submit the altered and fraudulent payroll information to management for approval. Once approved, Meléndez-Colón diverted money through the Web Cash Manager Program to his own bank accounts assigned to the two fictitious employees. From January 2012 through July 2017, Meléndez-Colón diverted approximately $1,223,654.21 as part of the unlawful conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the District of Puerto Rico; Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”); and Rebecca González Ramos, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) made the announcement.

The Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”) and Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) investigated the case.

Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Social Security Administration Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodríguez prosecuted the case.

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