Rockledge Florida- (Courtesy WFTV.com) If its one thing that I despise just as much, if not more than someone posing as a Veteran, it is those that take advantage of Veterans and try to scam them.
Rockledge police said they uncovered a scheme that investigators believe was targeting military veterans.
Christopher Higginbotham is a school teacher and veteran who served in Afghanistan who was recently handed a business card with the name Philip Charles on the front.
“He told me he was a lawyer who litigates for veterans and benefits,” said Higginbotham.
But Rockledge police said Philip Charles was actually Philip Cassamassima, who is not a lawyer.
Investigators said Cassamassima posed as an attorney and used his partner in crime, Dora Richards, to pose as a nurse.
Higginbotham said the two promised to get him money for a military injury, but after he paid the pair a $1,000 fee, his wife became suspicious.
“(Richards) started talking medical issues and my wife being a nurse, a real nurse, called her on that,” said Higginbotham.
Police and prosecutors said Cassamassima has a long criminal history and was recently released from prison on grand theft and scheme to defraud charges.
Prosecutors said Cassamassima is also a high-risk sex offender, something that made the situation worse for Higginbothan, who has a 2-year-old son.
“I let my son on his lap and he’s touching him and telling him to call him Uncle Phil,” said Higginbotham.
Investigators arrested Cassamassima and Richards. Both will face charges in connection to the scheme, authorities said.
Thanks to the wife of the Veteran who was a registered Nurse who became suspicious after they began talking medical issues.
Police say Cassamassima had paperwork with other names and appointment times, indicating there are more victims of this scheme. Richards told police she started working for him about a month ago and was told to pretend to be a nurse for $50 per visit.
Court records show Cassamassima was booked on charges of scheme to defraud, impersonating an attorney, making false statements to obtain money and two counts of grand theft. Richards was booked on charges of scheme to defraud, impersonating a registered nurse, making false claims to obtain money and two counts of grand theft.
Well these two will have their mugshots posted on this site forever, so when anyone googles them it will show and hopefully they will never be able to take advantage of our Vets again.
Remember to always check out anyone that claims they can help you with something like this, as this is only one incident in which the perps were busted. I assure you, plenty of others are out to take advantage of our Veterans and their families.
Anyone who thinks they might’ve been taken advantage of by these people should call the Rockledge Police Department (321) 690-3988.
Here is a video interview with the Vet that busted them: