Score:   1
Docket Number:   SD-CA  3:18-cr-01674
Case Name:   USA v. Cote et al
  Press Releases:
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 31, 2019

SAN DIEGO – A federal grand jury in San Diego returned a superseding indictment today that charges U. S. Navy servicemembers Dr. Michael Villarroel, Paul Craig, and Christopher Toups with fraud, false claims and conspiracy to defraud the United States.  The charges arise from a scheme where the defendants filed fraudulent claims to obtain unearned benefits from the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Program (“TSGLI”).  

According to the indictment, the TSGLI program is an insurance program that compensates servicemembers who suffer serious and debilitating injuries while on active duty.  The program is funded by fees paid directly by individual service members and the Department of Defense.  According to the superseding indictment, Dr. Michael Villarroel, a Commander in the U.S. Navy, was the medical doctor for the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One  (“EOD ESU One”) from  March 2010 through May 2013.  In that capacity, Dr. Villarroel knowingly signed off on false and fraudulent TSGLI applications on behalf of multiple servicemembers that were part of or connected to EOD ESU One.  Both Christopher Toups, a former Chief Petty Officer Construction Mechanic, and Paul Craig, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, filed fraudulent TSLGI applications.   To support their applications, each defendant submitted fabricated applications that included forged signatures and altered hospital records.  According to the superseding indictment, Craig fraudulently collected $150,000 and Toups collected at least $100,000. 

In addition to Christopher Toups, four other individuals were previously indicted in connection with this scheme.  Three of those individuals – Richard Cote, Earnest Thompson, and Kelene Meyer – have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and as part of their plea, admitted that the conspirators defrauded the TSGLI program of nearly $2 million.   According to the plea agreement, Meyer, a former nurse in the U.S. Navy, stated that Toups, Villarroel, and she received kickbacks for creating and filing the fraudulent TSGLI applications for other U.S. Navy servicemembers.   

DEFENDANTS                                  Case Number:            18CR1674

Dr. Michael Villarroel                        Age:  47                      Coronado, California

Paul Craig                                           Age:  46                      Austin, Texas

Christopher Toups                              Age: 42                             Woodstock, GA   

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 1349, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud; Maximum Penalty 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.

Counts 2-4: 18 U.S.C. § 1343, Wire Fraud; Maximum Penalty 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution  

Counts 5-7: 18 U.S.C. § 287, Making a False Claim; Maximum Penalty 5 years in prison, $250,000 fine  

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Naval Criminal Investigative Service

Veteran Affairs for the Office of Inspector General

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Docket (0 Docs):   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PIqQtiao6WzNnf-PJw4yVMVfTwkhC4YbDdw9F-UlkVQ/edit#gid=0
  Last Updated: 2020-04-17 01:55:59 UTC
Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the second highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE2
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE2
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the third highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE3
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE3
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
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