Two Loudoun County men were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on felony charges stemming from a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain life insurance benefits, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia.
James C. Cilenti, 47, and Christopher Agresto, 36, both of Leesburg, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering, authorities said. Cilenti was also indicted on five additional counts of money laundering, two counts of Social Security related fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to officials.
According to the indictment, Cilenti and Agresto conspired to defraud USAA Life Insurance Company in San Antonio, Texas, out of the proceeds of a $500,000 life insurance policy in the name of Cilenti’s wife.
Cilenti was listed as a primary beneficiary under the policy, but because the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department had identified him as a person of interest in his wife’s death, USAA declined to pay the proceeds to him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, said the circumstances surrounding the death of Cilenti’s wife in July 2009 are still under active investigation. He declined to offer further details on the case.
Cilenti’s minor daughter, Lauren Cilenti, was the contingent beneficiary of the policy, according to authorities.
The indictment alleges that Cilenti and Agresto, a Leesburg attorney, created a trust to benefit Lauren, and appointed Agresto as the grantor and trustee. By representing to USAA that Cilenti would not have control of or access to the trust assets, the pair persuaded USAA to pay the proceeds of the policy to a checking account that Cilenti set up for the trust, federal authorities said.
Shortly after USAA wired $507,000 to the account, Agresto wrote checks to Cilenti — and less than three months later, Cilenti had spent almost all of the funds that were wired by USAA into Lauren’s trust account, the indictment alleges. Federal prosecutors said “very little if any” of the money benefitted Cilenti’s daughter.
Cilenti is also accused of applying for survivor death benefits with the Social Security Administration on behalf of his daughter, allegedly forging her signature and using her Social Security number without her knowledge to obtain $7,600 in survivor payments made to himself on her behalf, according to the statement.
The case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office, the prosecutors said.