Rupert Morgan has been sentenced to two years, and three months in federal prison for theft of VA and Social Security funds paid to a beneficiary who died in 1997.
“Morgan stole more than $400,000 to which he was not entitled,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This case is particularly troubling because he had a successful and lucrative career in the legal profession during the entire time period that he was committing this fraud on the United States government.”
Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) – Southeast Field Office, said “this sentencing is a testament to the excellent interagency cooperation with VA OIG, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Justice. We are committed to aggressively pursuing those who commit fraud against our nation’s veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs and its programs.”
“The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is committed to pursuing those who violate the public’s trust by failing to report Social Security beneficiary deaths and continuing to receive the deceased’s benefits, sometimes for many years. We are working closely with Social Security and the Department of Justice to identify and prosecute these people and recover stolen funds, as one of our many efforts to protect the integrity of Social Security’s programs for those who rely on them now and into the future,” said Thomas Caul, Special Agent-in-Charge of the SSA OIG’s Atlanta Field Division.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In December 1996, Morgan was a paralegal who has been employed by various law firms in the Atlanta area, and R.V., a VA disability and Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement beneficiary, was a patient at a personal care home owned and operated by Morgan’s now ex-wife. Morgan and R.V. opened a joint SunTrust bank account into which R.V.’s benefits were deposited. R.V. died in November 1997. After R.V.’s death, the defendant kept the joint bank account open while VA and SSA benefits continued to be deposited into the account.
In 2007, ten years after R.V.’s death, the defendant opened a second joint bank account in both his and R.V.’s names. He then frequently transferred money from the original joint account to the second joint account. Morgan often let large sums of money accumulate in the accounts before he spent it. When the SSA discovered the fraud, it was able to reclaim over $101,000 that was sitting in the defendant’s and R.V.’s joint bank account. In total, the defendant stole $258,045.00 from the VA and $142,372.00 from the SSA.
Morgan, 53, of Atlanta, Ga., has been sentenced to two years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $299,164.75. Morgan was convicted of these charges on September 26, 2014, after he pleaded guilty.