Las Vegas, Nevada - A Las Vegas woman was sentenced yesterday to 34 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $13.9 million in restitution to victims in connection with a series of grant fraud schemes, announced U.S. Attorney District Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada. The woman’s fraud schemes targeted small business owners, many of them elderly, and a separate Medicare and insurance fraud scheme.
Lorraine Riddiough, aka Lorraine Ann Mader, 70, of Las Vegas, was also sentenced to five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon. The sentencing combined four separate cases. Riddiough pleaded guilty last year to four counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of health care fraud and theft of government property.
From October 2009 to Spring 2013, Riddiough and others conspired to defraud small business owners by falsely telling the business owners that they qualified for grants, which Riddiough and others promised to secure for the business owners for a fee, usually between $2,500 and $7,000. Riddiough and the others did not provide the promised services or obtain grants for the small business owners. After scamming the initial $2,500 to $7,000 from the victim, Riddiough and the others often told the victims that grants had been approved, but that additional steps and fees were needed to access that grant. More than 25 victims suffered significant financial hardship as a result of the losses from the advance-fee telemarketing scheme. Riddiough herself directly obtained approximately $444,224 from the victims.
Riddiough admitted that after the telemarketing schemes were shut down by law enforcement intervention in 2014, she faked medical conditions, ailments, and injuries related to a minor, low-speed car accident to steal Medicaid benefits and funds from the Government Employees’ Insurance Company (GEICO). She filed a series of false claims related to the traffic accident and made a series of fake medical complaints including her inability to work and drive her car due to her injuries. She received treatment and medication for the non-existent injuries she falsely claimed.
The cases were investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cowhig prosecuted the cases.