Tue, Jan 24, 2023 1:18 PM
By Scott McClallen, The Center Square
A Michigan man pleaded no contest to two counts of receiving stolen property in the amount of $1,000 to $20,000 last week.
Stephen Decker, 34, of Wyandotte, was charged in connection with the theft of monies from the Michigan Department of Treasury unclaimed property division and the U.S. Veterans Administration.
Decker is accused of knowingly spending money his mother, Sophia Quill, allegedly stole from taxpayers and the Veterans Administration. Decker allegedly spent some of the money to conceal property used to conduct the fraud, a release says. He has agreed to pay back $28,506, the amount of the stolen funds that he spent.
Decker entered his plea in the Wayne County Circuit Court before Judge William Giovan.
“Defrauding public agencies, veterans, and their families will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “This plea not only holds a guilty party accountable but will also help the essential veteran resource departments recoup some of the funds that were taken.”
Quill and her co-defendant, Melissa Flores, allegedly stole over $430,000 from the VA and over $40,000 from the Michigan Department of Treasury Unclaimed Property Division. Their means, the release said, was by creating and submitting fraudulent estate documents, probate records, death certificates, and other vital records to those agencies in claims for VA benefits and to take ownership of unclaimed property.
In 2020, Nessel’s office charged Quill with conducting a criminal enterprise and eight counts of false pretenses as a fourth habitual offender, which means she is facing a maximum term of life imprisonment if convicted on any of the charges. Quill is currently residing in Florida, but Michigan intends to request extradition, the release said.
In June of 2022, Flores was sentenced to two years in prison and was ordered to pay $110,000 restitution for her role. She has agreed to testify against Quill.