South African mother, daughter, living in Idaho, going prison for defrauding disability department
BOISE — Gloudina Robbertse, 50, of Meridian, was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison for filing false claims for disability benefits with the California Employment Disability Department (CEDD), U.S. Attorney Bart Davis announced.
Her daughter, Chantelle Robbertse, 24, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced to 24 months for her role in the fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Gloudina and Chantelle Robbertse to pay $475,350.28 in restitution to the CEDD.
According to court records, while living in California, Gloudina and Chantelle Robbertse devised and executed a scheme to defraud the CEDD. They continued the scheme when they moved to Idaho in April 2017. Gloudina and Chantelle Robbertse filed false disability claims using the identity of real persons without their knowledge. Once the claims were approved by the CEDD, a debit card was issued in the name of the claimants being impersonated. Gloudina and Chantelle Robbertse used commercial mailboxes set up in California and Idaho to receive the debit cards. Thereafter, Gloudina and Chantelle withdrew money from the debit cards at banks in Idaho and California for their own personal financial gain.
“Identity theft disrupts lives, creates financial havoc and causes undue emotional stress for victims,” said Davis. “Those who callously defraud individuals will be prosecuted and punished. I commend the diligent efforts of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for stopping these identity thieves in their tracks. The Court’s restitution order ensures any assets will go toward repairing the financial harm caused to the victims in this case.”
“It is widely believed that fraud cases are victimless crimes, but that could not be farther from the truth,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Seattle. “These individuals stole money that was intended for people in need, some of which solely rely on government programs for life’s necessities. When someone’s identity is stolen it can take several years to correct the issue. Often times this leaves victims without the ability to obtain funds they desperately need, from programs meant to assist them, all while struggling to prove their own financial responsibility. Ultimately, victims and taxpayers bare the largest burden when crimes like this occur. HSI’s mission to bring these criminals to justice is instrumental to protecting the public and keeping these government programs intact.”
Gloudina Robbertse pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on December 6, 2018. On that same day, Chantelle Robbertse pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.