Fredrick Brown, 38, was working as a civilian medical records administrator for the 65th Medical Brigade the first time he allegedly stole the Social Security Numbers and Defense Department IDs of thousands U.S. military veterans.
According to Military.com, Brown pulled the records up on his computer at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, and took a picture of the screen with his phone.
He sent the images at Robert Wayne Boling Jr., who shared it with three other defendants in the case and used it to find bank account information on the military’s eBenefits website.
They used that information to defraud enlisted services members of millions.
According to the indictment from the Department of Justice, the group targeted “older, disabled veterans because they were less likely to utilize online account services.”
“Access to these detailed records enabled the defendants to steal or attempt to steal millions of dollars from military members’ bank accounts,” the Justice Department said. “The defendants also stole veterans’ benefits payments.”
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Brown was arrested in his hometown of Las Vegas. Boling a U.S. citizen, Allan Albert Kerr, and Australian, and Jongmin Seok, Korean, were arrested in August in the Philippines, and will be extradited to Texas.
Trorice Crawford, also a U.S. citizen, was arrested in San Diego.
Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer in San Antonio, Texas, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. He faces the potential of 20 years in a federal prison for each.
The Justice Department has no clear picture of how many veterans have been affected in this scheme, but a stated in a news release that it is working with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to notify and provide resources to the thousands of identified victims.
“Announcements also will follow regarding steps taken to secure military members’ information and benefits from theft and fraud,” the release said.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.