AUSTIN, Texas – A former Army civilian working in Korea pleaded guilty Tuesday for his part in an international scam that drained millions of dollars from the bank accounts of older, disabled veterans, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Fredrick Brown, 38, of Las Vegas, Nev., a former civilian medical records administrator for the 65th Medical Brigade at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer in San Antonio, Texas, and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, according to the Department of Justice.
He and four other men alleged to have conspired in the scheme were arrested and charged in August with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
In his plea, Brown admitted he stole personal identifying information of thousands of military members, including names, Social Security numbers, Defense Department identification numbers, birth dates and contact information from July 2014 to September 2015. He captured the information by taking digital photographs of his computer screen while he was logged into the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application and sent the stolen data to co-defendant, Robert Wayne Boling Jr.
Using this information, Boling and others named in the criminal complaint used the information to log into the eBenefits website and gained access to veterans’ bank account information, according to the Department of Justice. The indictment, unsealed in August, states they specifically chose older, disabled veterans because they were less likely to utilize online account services.
Other defendants in the scheme are Trorice Crawford, Allan Albert Kerr and Jongmin Seok. Boling, a U.S. citizen, Kerr, an Australian citizen, and Seok, a South Korean citizen, were arrested in August in the Philippines and await transfer to Texas. Crawford, an American, was arrested in August in San Diego, and remains in federal custody pending resolution of this litigation.
Brown faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each conspiracy charge and remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6 before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio, according to the Department of Justice.
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are coordinating with the Department of Justice to notify and provide resources to the thousands of identified victims, according to the release.
“Announcements also will follow regarding steps taken to secure military members’ information and benefits from theft and fraud,” the Department of Justice said.
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