Retired soldier sentenced to 36 months in prison for defrauding the Army

| June 14, 2024 | 19 Comments

Kevin Romulus Pelayo, together with his wife Cristine Furio Fredericks, illegally obtained over 800 Soldier Social Security numbers. From 2014 through 2020, these Social Security numbers were provided to the Army’s Mass Transportation Benefit Program. The Soldiers were not aware that they had been listed as using this program. The couple provided an illusion that they were running a rideshare program shuttling Soldiers to and from Fort Cavazos.

From the Army Times:

Kevin Romulus Pelayo, 45, and his wife Cristine Furio Fredericks, 40, illegally obtained social security numbers along with other identifying information of more than 800 soldiers and submitted them from 2014 to 2020 to the Army’s Mass Transportation Benefit Program without the soldiers’ knowledge.

Pelayo and Frederick’s company Soldier Vanpools, LLC, received millions of dollars in funds from the program over the course of those six years in exchange for the false claim that the soldiers were using their service for transportation to and from Fort Cavazos, Texas, according to court documents. According to Stars and Stripes, Pelayo was a platoon sergeant at Fort Cavazos.

The Mass Transportation Benefit Program subsidizes transportation costs for soldiers and civilian employees.

In 2019, Pelayo routinely paid a criminal confidant for personal information about hundreds of soldiers that he would then use to fraudulently enroll them in the Mass Transportation Benefit Program, according to court documents.

Pelayo and Fredericks used their earnings to stockpile vans, SUVs, and other vehicles to create the illusion that their business was legitimate and engaged in the shepherding of large amounts of soldiers to and from the military base.

Additional reading:

Ceder, R. (2024, June 12). A former sergeant’s rideshare scam cost the Army millions. Army Times. Link.

Category: "Teh Stoopid", Army, Army News, Crime, Veterans in the news

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fm2176

I read about this when they were first arrested. Hope it was worth the prison time.

I used MTBP benefits for about a year-and-a-half. I wish I’d have started sooner and could have kept on after my local PCS. As the only uniformed person in my vanpool most of the time, I learned a lot from other commuters. We had a retired Colonel who’d been a B52 Command Pilot and was then a professor at a school on McNair, current USNR Captain who was the last holdout along with me for going into work a couple of times a week during Covid, retired MGySgt, retired female Motor T GySgt with a foul mouth, and a few others for short periods, including an AD Navy CAPT on the short list for RDML and an ONI Civilian going to the school the USAF Col taught at.

It was nice, DOD paid $265/month, and until Covid hit, I’d make the 1/2-mile drive to the commuter lot, jump in the van and nap on the 40-mile commute. I’d volunteer to drive home 2-3 times a week, but never in the morning. Knowing the system, when this news hit, I figured the fraudsters thought they were smarter than they are. It’s a good way to make money if you’re legit, but trying to fake the funk isn’t going to last for long.

The vanpool owner made some serious money. He was a GS-15 Step 10 at the Navy Yard, and his company had some 40 vans, with our van having 11 riders at its peak. If he averaged $2k month per van in MTBP payments, it was an $80k month venture. He had a few employees (commuters shared driving responsibilities) and of course fuel and maintenance costs on the vans.

But some people let opportunity and greed blind them. What could have been easy and honest, even if much less, money was passed up for a temporary millionaire status.

Last edited 28 days ago by fm2176
2banana

Go big or go home.

Easy money if they stayed legit.

Probably would have never gotten caught if they kept the “vig” under the radar.

“The couple spent a large portion of the millions of dollars in funds they received on real estate, personal vehicles, and other property,” according to the Department of Justice.”

KoB

^This^ Possible candidate for the Stupid People of The Week Thread. Be The Gray Man. “Lavish lifestyle”? What’s the income of a Retired Platoon Sgt (E-7?), even with the income of side gig? “43 vehicles”? “12 homes”? “jewelry”? and…DaHell…”129 purses”? $600,000 in cash? No indication of how many “millions” they had stolen before a “criminal informant” got them busted. And why did Ms Thang, the wife, only get 5 years probation? He gave free rides to “Soldiers” and now he’ll be giving free rides to the Troops in Cell Block D.

Another reason why we can’t have nice things.

Hack Stone

Does the Prison Commissary give military discounts?

26Limabeans

Dunno but transportation is free.

Hack Stone

His new nickname will be The Midnight Special.

Jimbojszz

His new song will be The Locomotion

RCAF-CHAIRBORNE

Unless he can hitch a ride on the Midnight Express

Jimbojszz

Greed. You don’t have to steal to be come wealthy. Work hard and save your money. I hope these too spend many years behind bars. And be barred from any future contracts with any government organization in the US.
There is a program that requires agencies to give a small percentage of work to disabled veterans. It has been open to fraud for years as it only required self certification. That is changed now. The theft of contracts by non disabled veterans and non-veterans was enormous. This is stolen valor too.

Odie

Probably figured they could get away with it by following examples set by those in DC. Millionaires on a 178k`ish salary after 1 term in their elected capacity.

Another reason why we can’t have nice things.

Skippy

Blue Falcon

Blaster

This POS and his games is what’s going to lead people stop saying: “thank you for your service “!

JK, I don’t need that and it makes me uncomfortable anyway.🙄

Anonymous

Hey, Chicoms be equally f*cked-up… Dudes sell bulk classified docs to recycling place instead of destroying them, another dude then buys four volumes of those from a junk store for 85 cents:
https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-says-2-military-employees-044603726.html

Last edited 27 days ago by Anonymous
Jimbojszz

I wonder what they meant by dealing with the two people who sold the documents. Execution is big in China, but they don’t talk about that.

RCAF-CHAIRBORNE

They have those crazy execution vans.
Imagine being the poor bastard laying there while they find and tap veins in a moving vehicle. Ouch

rgr769

First, they have to harvest their organs. It is a profit center for the Chicoms.

Green Thumb

I did not realize Phildo had family in the Army.

Some straight up All-Points Logistics shit here.

jim

military today