April 22, 2021
LANSING - Another 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 has been formally charged, 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.
Sophia J. Quill, 60, was arraigned in front of Judge Mark A. McConnell of the Wayne County 18th District Court over Zoom Wednesday.
The charges include:
She is charged as a Fourth Habitual Offender, meaning Quill is facing a maximum term of life imprisonment if convicted of any of the charges.
Quill and her co-conspirator Melissa Flores, who was arraigned last year, 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.
"I said it after the first arraignments and I'll say it again-taking advantage of agencies that offer public benefits for our servicemembers and their families is a slap in the face to the brave men and women who protect this country," Nessel said. "Let the months spent building and prosecuting this case serve as a warning to anyone trying to defraud our state or federal agencies. It will not be tolerated."
Quill was not arraigned in Michigan last year with her co-defendants because she is out of state and COVID-19 made extradition from Florida difficult. However, the Wayne County District Court was recently able to coordinate Quill's remote arraignment.
Judge McConnell set bond at $10,000 cash/surety and ordered that Quill have no contact with co-defendant Flores.
A Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for April 29 and a Preliminary Examination is scheduled for May 6, both over Zoom.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.