FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2012
Contact: Liz Mills, Director of Media Relations and Communications, 571-251-5568 (mobile)
LCSO Detectives Honored at 2012 Eastern District of VA Public Service Awards
For Exemplary Work on Life Insurance & Social Security Fraud Case
Loudoun County, VA – Two Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office detectives were honored today for their work involving a life insurance and social security fraud investigation that culminated in the sentencing of a Leesburg, Virginia attorney to 64-months in prison.
Detective Michael Grimsley and Detective Shannon Coderre were recognized by Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia at the 2012 Eastern District of Virginia Public Service Awards Ceremony.
The two detectives worked countless hours investigating the activities of James C. Cilenti, 47, of Leesburg. Their efforts led to a plea agreement in November 2011 when Cilenti pled guilty to carrying out a fraud scheme to fraudulently obtain life insurance proceeds and for aggravated identity theft in connection with a related Social Security fraud scheme. He was sentenced earlier this year to 64 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $465,748 in restitution.
According to plea papers, Cilenti conspired to defraud USAA Life Insurance Company out of the proceeds of a $500,000 life insurance policy on the life of Cilenti’s late wife. Although Cilenti was the primary beneficiary of the policy, because the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office identified Cilenti as a person of interest in his wife’s death, the insurance company declined to pay the proceeds to him. As a result, Cilenti and his attorney concocted a scheme to lie to the insurance company in order to fraudulently obtain the life insurance proceeds for Cilenti.
According to court documents, after being identified as a person of interest in his wife’s death, Cilenti disclaimed any interest in the $500,000 life insurance proceeds so that Cilenti’s then-minor adopted daughter could claim the benefits. Cilenti then retained a Leesburg attorney to create a trust for the benefit of Cilenti’s adopted daughter for which the attorney acted as trustee. Cilenti and his attorney falsely represented to the insurance company that Cilenti would neither have control of, access to, nor benefit from the insurance proceeds deposited in the trust. As a result, the insurance company paid over $500,000 in insurance proceeds to the adopted daughter’s trust.
Cilenti’s daughter, according to court papers, did not know that she was the beneficiary of her mother’s $500,000 life insurance policy or that a trust was created in her name. In fact, within weeks of the insurance company wiring $507,000 to the trust account, Cilenti’s attorney wrote over $400,000 in checks and wire transfers to Cilenti. Cilenti spent almost all the funds from the trust account, very little if any of which benefited his adopted daughter.
Shortly after the life insurance fraud scheme, unbeknownst to his adopted daughter, Cilenti also applied for Social Security survivor benefits on her behalf, forging her signature and using her Social Security Number without her knowledge or permission. Cilenti then spent on himself approximately $7,600 in Social Security survivor payments made to him on his adopted daughter’s behalf.
Grimsley and Coderre are currently assigned to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit.