St. Louis County Man Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison, Ordered to Pay More Than $1 Million for Elder Fraud and Disability Fraud

Jun 28, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark on Thursday sentenced a St. Louis County, Missouri man who financially exploited two elderly women while committing disability fraud to 87 months in prison and ordered him to repay more than $1.1 million. 

Gino Rives, 36, of Edmundson, also agreed to return a house to one of the victims and will be ordered to return a total of six vehicles that he obtained from his two elderly victims. Judge Clark fined him $100,000.

Rives pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in January to five counts of theft of government funds in the disability fraud case. He pleaded guilty in October in the elder fraud case to one count of access device fraud and one count of fraudulently effecting transactions.

Rives admitted fraudulently receiving payments from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Supplemental Security Income Program. Rives applied in 2010, claiming to have a mental health disorder. He repeatedly pretended to be incapable of answering basic questions during interviews and evaluations. He falsely claimed to have memory problems and difficulty concentrating, following instructions and completing tasks. He claimed he had never been employed, could not drive, was unable to handle his financial affairs and had no assets. 

Rives admitted concealing his employment in the construction and tree trimming industries, his 
participation in competitive mixed martial arts, his ownership of houses and vehicles, and his receipt of more than $721,692 since 2021. He now must pay the SSA $120,260.

Rives has also admitted financially exploiting two elderly women. He obtained four vehicles and checks totaling more than $855,000 from one woman for construction work on her house, most of which was never done. He also used her debit card for personal purchases for himself and his family. He executed a quit claim deed and transferred a house belonging to the other victim into his name. He moved her from her home and into a nursing home and permitted his mother to move into the home.

A nursing home administrator testified during the sentencing hearing that the victim was left at the facility with two sets of pajamas, two dresses, a pair of slippers, and a couple of sets of underwear. The victim received additional clothing purchased by the administrator and through donations obtained at the nursing home. The victim was left without “a single memento from her childhood or the international trips she made with her late husband,” a sentencing memo filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry says. The memo says Rives was convicted in 2009 of another case involving the financial exploitation of the elderly and accused in a similar case in 2014.

Judge Clark ordered Rives to pay restitution of $1,042,848 in the elder fraud case.

Zella Rives, 57, admitted helping her son with the disability fraud. Austin James, a Jefferson County contractor, has also pleaded guilty and admitted aiding Rives with defrauding one of the victims. They have not yet been sentenced.

The Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry is prosecuting the case.

Anyone with information about disability fraud is asked to contact the SSA Office of Inspector General fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online at Concerns about suspected abuse or neglect of the elderly or disabled should be directed to Missouri’s Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-392-0210 or online at

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