Rochester Woman Charged with Defrauding RG&E
ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Phally Suong, 34, of Rochester, New York, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with committing mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, Suong worked at Rochester Gas and Electric as a Customer Service Representative from 2005 until 2013. Between 2012 and 2013, the defendant used her position to access RG&E billing systems and unlawfully alter customer information for inactive accounts awaiting refunds. The defendant would change the information in the system from the actual customer’s name to her own, which would cause RG&E to issue refund checks to Suong instead of the actual account holder. As part of the scheme, the defendant caused fraudulent refund checks to be mailed out using the United States Postal Service.
Once these checks were received, Suong would cash them, and then go back into the billing system and change the account information back to the original customer’s name and address. RG&E became aware of the unlawful activity during an internal audit and began an immediate investigation to determine the scope of the activity. The company then notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a result of this scheme to defraud, RG&E incurred a loss of over $199,000.
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman. Suong is due back in court on June 30, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.