ROCKFORD — A Lakewood man was indicted today by a federal grand jury on fraud charges.
VALENTINO VALERIU AGIGNOAE, 50, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of stealing Social Security disability insurance funds that he and his dependents were not entitled to, and four counts of making false statements or concealing facts with the intent to fraudulently secure Social Security benefit payments.
As alleged in the indictment, Agignoae began receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits in 1996. The benefits were paid via direct deposit to Agignoae’s bank account. The indictment alleges that from approximately January 2007 through April 2015, Agignoae schemed to defraud and to obtain money from the U.S. Social Security Administration by failing to notify the Social Security Administration that he was managing Valentino’s Club Café in Chicago, even though he knew that he was required to do so. It is also alleged that Agignoae’s misrepresentations and concealment of facts caused the U.S. Government, through the Social Security Administration, to suffer losses of approximately $157,503, in the form of monthly disability insurance payments to Agignoae and his dependents, to which Agignoae was not entitled.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison; stealing disability insurance funds carries a maximum potential penalty of up to ten years in prison; and each count of making a false statement or concealing facts for use by the Social Security Administration in determining rights to Social Security disability insurance benefits payments carries a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000, and full restitution. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
Agignoae will appear for arraignment in Rockford before U.S. Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston on a date yet to be determined.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The indictment was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Tracey Thanos, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Love.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of Illinois