In a stunning being admitted, 36-year-old Gino Rives of Edmundson, Missouri’s St. Louis County, entered a guilty plea to various charges of embezzlement of public monies, confirming his role in elder and incapacity fraud. The Eastern District of Missouri U.S. Attorney’s Office will be handling this case, which discloses an unsettling pattern of resting and abuse.
Disability Fraud Scheme Uncovered
On January 19, 2024, Rives—who had before recognized taking advantage of two elderly ladies financially—confessed to causing disability fraud. This revelation came as a component of his guilty plea in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to five counts of theft of government funds. His deceptive acts became apparent through an inquiry by both the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service.
In 2010, Rives applied falsely for Supplemental Security Income benefits from the Social Security Administration as part of the scam. He erroneously stated to have a mental illness, even going so far as to act as thinking he couldn’t respond to simple questions in an SSA representative interview on May 14, 2010, and during an SSA psychologist’s mental health evaluation August 30, 2010. His fraudulent claims included difficulties with concentration, following instructions, completing tasks, and memory issues. He also falsely stated that he had never been employed, could not drive, was unable to handle his financial affairs, and had no assets.
However, Rives’ actual lifestyle contradicted his claims. He concealed his employment in the construction and tree trimming industries, his participation in competitive mixed martial arts, and his ownership of houses and vehicles. The most startling revelation was his receipt of over $721,692 since 2021, while he fraudulently received more than $91,000 through disability fraud.
Elder Fraud: A Parallel Scheme
In addition to the disability fraud, Rives was involved in a separate scheme exploiting elderly individuals. In October, he pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of fraudulently effecting transactions. This guilty plea was part of his admission to exploiting two elderly women over several years.
From one victim, Rives obtained four vehicles and checks totaling at least $500,000. He manipulated the other victim, moving her out of her home and then renting the property to his mother, further showcasing his manipulative tactics.
Scheduled Sentencing and Ongoing Investigations
On April 17 in the specific instance of the handicap fraud and on March 14 in the case of the elder scam, Rives are scheduled to be sentenced. The court system and law enforcement were reacting forcefully to these crimes due to their seriousness.
Public Response and Reporting Channels
Notification of Disability Fraud: Individuals who are interested are invited to report any potential instances of disability fraud online at oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling the SSA Office of Inspector General fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Elder Abuse Reporting: If you suspect that an elderly or handicapped person has been assaulted or neglected, you should report it online at health.mo.gov/safety/abuse/ or by calling Missouri’s Adult Injury and Neglect Hotline at 800-392-0210.
The Gino Rives case serves as a sobering reminder of the shortcomings in our social support networks and the catastrophic consequences that fraud has on individuals and society as a whole. It emphasizes how crucial it is to exercise caution and notify the proper authorities of any activity that seems suspicious. This case however serves as an example and a call to action against similar fraudulent procedures, even while Rives awaits the consequence.