PROVIDENCE – A Rhode Island couple has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges they participated in a scheme that lasted more than twenty years to defraud the United States Government of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federally-funded benefits.
Lens Chappell, a/k/a Carter Jefferson, 71, and his wife, Mulin Alexandre, a/k/a Kesa Pittman and later Kesa Jefferson, 40, of Providence, admitted they jointly participated in schemes to fraudulently obtain government documents, state Medicaid, as well as federally-funded U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S Health and Human Services (HHS) and Social Security benefits dating back to at least 1998.
Appearing today before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Lens Chappell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of public money, false statement in a passport application or use, and aggravated identity theft. On Monday, Mulin Alexandre pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. to conspiracy to defraud the United States and passport fraud. Both will be sentenced on December 4, 2019.
According to court documents, beginning in 1998, Lens Chappell took on a relative’s identity and used that identity and a stolen identity to identify his wife in order to obtain government documents, including passports. Chappell arranged for Alexandre to come from her native Haiti to the United States unlawfully, changing her identity to Kesa Pittman and later Kesa Jefferson.
The pair used the fraudulent identities to obtain state Medicaid benefits and federally-funded benefits from HUD, HHS, and Social Security. According to information presented to the Court, from 1998 to 2014, it is alleged that the Providence couple fraudulently received an estimated $450,000 in federally-funded benefits they were not entitled to receive.
Lens Chappell and Mulin Alexandre’s guilty pleas are announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman; Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha; Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Phillip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service William B. Gannon; Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; and Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni.
United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman thanks the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General and the Rhode Island Department of Human Services for their continued assistance in the investigation of this matter and support in the preparation of this case for prosecution in federal court.
The case is being jointly prosecuted in U.S. District Court by Assistant United States Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly and Rhode Island Special Assistant Attorney General David T. Bonzagni.