FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
NYPD Officer and His Wife Indicted for Using the Officer’s
Deceased Mother’s Identity to Defraud Social Security and Benefit Funds
Allegedly Forged and Falsified Documents to Steal About $360,000 and Attempt to Steal another $160,000; Impersonated the Dead Woman in Phone Calls and Continued to Refill her Prescription for Narcotic Pain Killers
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill today announced that a New York City Police Officer and his wife have been charged in a 101-count indictment with conspiracy, identity theft, scheme to defraud, grand larceny, money laundering, falsely reporting an incident, possession of a controlled substance and various other charges for assuming the officer’s deceased mother’s identity and using it to steal Social Security and pension benefits totaling approximately $100,000, fraudulently selling her home for $260,000 and attempting to defraud another $160,000 in life insurance annuities.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants, a police officer and his wife, allegedly took advantage of his own mother’s death to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars to which they were not entitled. This greedy and macabre conduct is even more egregious because police officers take an oath to uphold the law. We now intend to hold both defendants accountable for their alleged criminal conduct.”
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “Police officers swear an oath to hold themselves accountable to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. And when they intentionally violate that promise, they tarnish the reputation of all good cops – making their jobs much more difficult – and erode the trust we have worked so hard to earn in all of our communities. I commend the investigators with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, in conjunction with the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, for rooting out these illegal activities.”
Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge John Grasso said, “Today’s arrests should serve as a warning to those who choose to selfishly defraud the Social Security Administration Trust Fund. Our office vigorously pursues these cases, and we will continue to work jointly with the NYPD and other law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute fraud perpetrators in the future. I strongly encourage the public to report suspected instances of Social Security fraud to the OIG’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or https://oig.ssa.gov/report ”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Edward Ian St. Hill, 52, a 16-year veteran of the NYPD currently assigned to the 71st Precinct, and Maria Ramos, AKA Sunee St. Hill, 45, of Marine Park, Brooklyn. They were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 101-count indictment in which they are charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, second-degree forgery, third-degree money laundering, first-degree scheme to defraud, fifth-degree conspiracy, and falsely reporting an incident, among various other charges. Edward Ian St. Hill was also charged with official misconduct. He was ordered held on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail, and Ramos was ordered held on $50,000 bond or $20,000 cash bail. Both were ordered to return to court on November 7, 2018. They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants maintained the finances of Edward Ian St. Hill’s mother, Germain St. Hill, who passed away on June 4, 2016, as if she were alive. They allegedly also impersonated Germain St. Hill in numerous phone calls in a vast scheme to defraud multiple financial institutions and to take possession of controlled narcotics.
It is alleged that the defendants caused a death certificate to be generated for Germain St. Hill that bore an incorrect social security number, and never notified the proper authorities to correct the error, while continuing to collect and make use of Germain St. Hill’s Social Security and pension benefit checks, which totaled more than $38,000 and $50,000, respectively. Ramos allegedly impersonated her deceased mother-in-law in calls to Social Security and the pension fund.
Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the defendants fraudulently closed on the sale of Germain St. Hill’s home, for which they received approximately $260,000, and continued to refill Germain St. Hill’s prescription for Percocet on 14 separate occasions after she died.
Finally, the defendants allegedly attempted to steal approximately $160,000 from MetLife Insurance Company by fraudulently reporting that another family member had liquidated Germain St. Hill’s three annuity accounts without authorization. Ramos allegedly impersonated her deceased mother-in-law during follow-up phone conversations with the insurer after MetLife found that the annuities had been duly deposited in Germain St. Hill’s accounts. In attempting to pull off the complex scheme, the defendants allegedly generated and faxed a forged NYPD arrest report as well as several letters bearing an official NYPD letterhead, to MetLife, who alerted the police, triggering an investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Brooklyn DA’s Office.
The investigation was conducted by Sergeant Alex Nulman of the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Bureau, under the supervision of Lieutenant John Orecchia and Captain Joseph Profetta, also of the Internal Affairs Bureau.
The case was additionally investigated by Special Agents Jimmy Camilo and Neisha Samaroo of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Peter Choi of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli Muse, Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.